Second Circuit finds Internet and pornography bans as conditions for supervised release improper.

In this case, the Defendant was convicted of failing to register as a sex offender, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250. In finding that he violated certain conditions of supervised release, the District Court imposed a one-year term of imprisonment followed by eleven years of supervised release. The condition of his supervised release challenged here is a ban on accessing the Internet without prior specific permission of the court and a total ban on viewing or possessing adult pornography.

The Appellate Court found that these sweeping conditions were not justified. In concluding so, the Court stated that “a virtually categorical prohibition on a defendant’s use of any device to access the Internet—a technology around which our society now unmistakably turns—must be carefully explained and robustly supported by a district court, citing Carpenter’s language of the indispensability of cell phones.

The Court specifically stated that the record also fails to reveal the District Court’s basis for identifying a connection between the conditions and the likelihood of harm, a general reference to the conditions as being necessary to protect the community is not enough.

The case is United States v. Eaglin, 913 F.3d 88, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 1007 (2nd Cir.) January 11, 2019.

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