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October 22, 2016

Illinois Supreme Court upholds law requiring sex offenders to disclose internet identity information

As reported in this local Illinois article, the "state’s highest court has upheld a law that requires sex offenders to disclose information about their internet identities and websites."  Here is more about the ruling:

In a unanimous decision authored by Justice Charles E. Freeman, the Illinois Supreme Court held that a provision of the Sex Offender Registration Act survived First Amendment scrutiny because it bolsters the government’s interest in protecting the public without restricting more speech than necessary.

In an 18-page opinion issued this morning, the court critiqued a handful of federal district courts who have found similar statutes unconstitutional and wrote that although sex offender laws can have “a lasting and painful effect” on those they regulate, those consequences stem from the convictions rather than forced disclosure of their personal information.

The full ruling in Illinois v. Minnis, No. 119563 (Ill. Oct. 20, 2016), is available at this link, and it substantively starts and ends this way:

Section 3(a) of the Sex Offender Registration Act (Registration Act or Act) requires sex offenders to disclose and periodically update information regarding their Internet identities and websites. 730 ILCS 150/3(a) (West 2014). This information is subject to public inspection as provided by the Sex Offender Community Notification Law (Notification Law or Law) (730 ILCS 152/101 et seq. (West 2014)). The circuit court of McLean County entered an order finding that this Internet disclosure provision was overbroad in violation of the first amendment to the United States Constitution. U.S. Const., amend. I. The State appeals directly to this court. Ill. S. Ct. R. 603 (eff. Oct. 1, 2010). We now reverse the order of the circuit court and remand the cause to the circuit court for further proceedings....

We hold that the Internet disclosure provision survives intermediate scrutiny because it advances a substantial governmental interest without chilling more speech than necessary. Therefore, defendant has failed to establish that the Internet disclosure provision of section 3(a) of the Registration Act is facially unconstitutional because it is substantially overbroad in violation of the first amendment.

October 22, 2016 at 05:13 PM | Permalink


Ah, something in the Illinois water makes idiots out of the lawyers who become state supreme court justices (supreme - what a misnomer, should be cretinous and disingenuous).

"more speech than necessary" - they pulled this out of THEIR BUTTS, while their heads were in there!

Posted by: albeed | Oct 23, 2016 8:46:13 AM

Sex offender laws can have "a lasting and painful effect"....those consequences don't stem from convictions, they stem from vindictive prosecuters and judges who have no concern for what happens to those convicted once they've served their time and try to resume a life.
The registry and the never ending "add-on's" that go with it are a form of cruel and unusual punishment, not only for those on it but for their families as well and anyone that doesn't see that needs to have his/her eyes examined.

Posted by: kat | Oct 23, 2016 9:33:51 AM

Detail: "Defendant, then 16 years old, committed an act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct with the victim, who was 14 years old." Hard to tell the exact details there -- can be usual high schoolers having sex or might be some coercion involved.

This is relevant to the opinion since it noted the rules are more strict and there is an ability to petition to terminate in two years. As to the basic matter, seems logical given the current rules in place. If you can expose sex offenders, makes sense to not let them anonymously go online. This includes the rules regarding such offenders staying away from certain groups, a limit on the freedom of association allowed.

If this was a long term barrier, it would be a harder case.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 23, 2016 12:07:20 PM


Everyone of your generalities are outright misconceptions. If you don't know the details, DO NOT speculate.

You are stereotyping the majority of SOs to a small fraction of SOs. Read the 6th Federal Circuit opinion (August 2016, Does vs. Snyder) for some reality on the uselessness of the "governmental interest" wrt. these laws in this area.

Posted by: albeed | Oct 23, 2016 6:06:57 PM

"Everyone of your generalities are outright misconceptions."

I don't know what "genaralities" are in question here. For instance, I said this:

"Hard to tell the exact details there -- can be usual high schoolers having sex or might be some coercion involved."

Is that one? Doesn't sound like "misconceptions." I also discussed the law of the opinion. Sounds like you don't like the current law. That's fine. But, that is what my comment was working off. Don't know what "outright misconceptions" my "generalities" as to the law itself is though.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 23, 2016 7:41:12 PM

Internet disclosure actually seems more reasonable than can't-live-within-2000-feet-of-anything rules and the like.

And yes, child sex offenders should have the opportunity to have their records expunged. Someone who is a sex offender at (say) 16 CAN reform.

Posted by: William Jockusch | Oct 24, 2016 12:15:17 PM

Joe: perhaps albeed was referring to one of the following statements:
1) "If you can expose sex offenders, makes sense to not let them anonymously go online."
2) "This includes the rules regarding such offenders staying away from certain groups, a limit on the freedom of association allowed."

I don't see any logical connection between the two clauses in #1 above. As for the statements set forth in #2, you appear to conflate registration with punishment. Bear in mind that most registrants have already completed their sentences and are under no supervision. Consider also that many of the offenses for which persons are required to register occurred prior to any registration regime being in place. These considerations are important, for if registration is "punishment", then none of the persons whose offenses occurred prior to the enactment of the registration regime could be required to register, as such a requirement would be ex post facto punishment.* The same interpretation is what allows additional registration requirements to be added after the fact. So, if the rationale for registration is not "punishment" then "letting them go online" or "limits on freedom of association" don't appear to have much traction.

*Note that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has very recently held in Doe v. Snyder that registration is punishment, thus making ex post facto analysis applicable.

Posted by: MarK M. | Oct 24, 2016 3:23:37 PM

Well, Mark M., seems like albeed was talking about various things ["every one").

Am not sure why you "don't see any logical connection" without some discussion. I find it hard to understand your position. I am going by current practice here, again, not agreeing with the underlining policy. IF you "can expose" sex offenders, how is there no logical connection to preventing them from being anonymous online? If you can expose them, anonymity blocks that. Thus my confusion.

As to #2, no, I'm simply saying that current rules in place, accepted under current doctrine, is that you can limit freedom of association in respect to sexual offenders. I'm using that term generally -- be it civil or criminal. Given this, a rule that stops them from anonymously breaking the rules in place might be acceptable. Again, the case here is easier since the rules are more limited here as applied to juveniles, including a chance in two years to petition for removal. I don't know what all that "bear in mind" information means per the limited thing I'm saying.

Don't see any "outright misconception." This is not about me thinking everything is hunky-dory here.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 24, 2016 5:32:53 PM


I deliberately did not respond to your comment because I fail to understand it. I fail to understand your responses as well. You seem to be saying wrt to this ruling, 'tough sh-t', we can pile on as many restrictions after the fact as any lawmaker can propose, because they are, after all, sex offenders and we can restrict with whom and how they can associate with anyone and everyone. My position is that the overriding governmental interest of governmental protection is a POS house of cards that has no bearing on reality, therefore these justices are idiots, and anyone who would support this enabling position is disconnected from reality and the Constitution.

Other federal justices have also found the restriction (hindering) of being able to anonymously comment (even on this site) without reporting it to a governmental agent, before or after the fact, a First Amendment violation and a limit on speech. This seems to escape these baboons in black pajamas.

PS: I have very little patience for the deliberate willful ignorance of these baboons in black pajamas who wish to continually polish and enable the turd that is sex offender laws.

Posted by: albeed | Oct 24, 2016 11:22:52 PM

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