Sex offender banishment seems to be catching up with the information age. A Georgia sex offender has brought a constitutional challenge in federal court against a new state law that forces sex offenders to register their passwords, screen names, and e-mail addresses with law enforcement officials. Last year, a federal judge in Utah struck down a similar requirement. Recently, that same judge vacated her decision after the Utah legislature amended the statute to address the judge's concerns. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Attorneys for convicted sex offender Terrence White urged U.S. District Judge Bill Duffey to block the law because it infringes on White's constitutional rights.
State attorneys countered that the 2009 law gives authorities a much-needed tool to make sure registered sex offenders don't strike again.
Duffey did not rule immediately, but he said the case centers on a "fundamental issue in our culture."
"Children do have to be protected, but that also has to be balanced with constitutional protections," he said. "And I never take those lightly."
The case hinges on a state statute that took effect in January, bringing Georgia in line with a 2006 federal law requiring authorities to track Internet addresses of sex offenders.
It also made Georgia one of the first states to take the extra step of forcing its 16,000 offenders to turn in their passwords as well.