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August 13, 2009

Ninth Circuit rejects broad computer restriction in child porn sentence

Providing a fitting and timely follow-up to this morning's WSJ article on these topics (discussed here), today the Ninth Circuit in US v. Riley, No. 08-50009 (9th Cir. Aug. 13, 2009) (available here), vacates a condition of supervised release that prohibited the defendant "from using a computer to access 'any material that relates to minors.'"  Here is an excerpt from the opinion:

Riley contends that this condition is impermissibly overbroad.  Because the condition reaches any material relating to minors, Riley maintains, it would prevent him from accessing even current event news stories that pertain to children.  He further argues that, as he is a technical engineer, the condition unduly prevents him from working on computer programs designed for or used by minors.  We agree that the condition is impermissibly overbroad, imposing a far greater deprivation of liberty than reasonably necessary to achieve legitimate goals of supervised release.

The condition sweeps extremely widely.  As the government’s counsel agreed at oral argument, a literal reading of the condition would prohibit Riley from watching any movie on his computer that had children in it. Nor could Riley use a computer to send his own young relatives birthday cards. According to the government, the condition would also prohibit Riley from taking a job at a health insurance company that required him to enter minors’ claims information into a database. Moreover, the condition imposes a blanket ban on Riley’s use of a computer, not use subject to approval by his probation officer.  In other words, even if a probation officer agreed that using a computer to access particular material were acceptable, the condition would still prohibit Riley from accessing the material if it related to minors.

August 13, 2009 at 02:05 PM | Permalink

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Comments

In my humble opinion, there is no worse animal than one that preys upon children. Absolutely deporable, it must take some kind of monster.

Posted by: Berkshire County Web Design | Nov 22, 2009 11:52:02 AM

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