The New York Civil Liberties Union, Rutgers Law School Constitutional Rights Clinic, and Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York filed a lawsuit to end New York’s policies of banning internet and social media access for people required to register as sex offenders who are released on parole or supervised release, even when they did not use the internet or social media as part of the offense.
This lawsuit was filed against Tina Stanford, the chair of the Board of Parole, and Anthony Annucci, Acting Commissioner of DOCCS. It argues that the conditions imposed by DOCCS and e-STOP are grossly overbroad. The bans apply without regard to whether someone poses a risk to reoffend through the internet or social media. Instead, these bans block access to First Amendment forums to the vast majority of people who will never use the internet or social media to commit an offense. They also block access to websites that offer no possibility of harming minors.
The case was successfully settled with an agreement that ended the practice of indiscriminately banning internet and social media access for people on parole required to register as sex offenders. The settlement required future restrictions to be limited to circumstances where there are legitimate and particularlized concerns about a person's likelihood of reoffending by using the internet and social media, or circumstances where restrictions are deemed necessary to ensure compliance with a specific goal of rehabilitation.