Internet Solicitation Laws Ruled CONSTITUTIONAL

Yet Carla Sigler with the Calcasieu DA’s office says the law is regulating conduct, not speech and that trying to solicit a child is not protected speech. “What is prohibited is somebody sexually soliciting a minor child via the Internet or someone they suspect to be a minor child. The act of typing in the email communication and soliciting that child is conduct rather than speech.”

A judge in Calcasieu finds the law used to prosecute online predators is constitutional — even if the original version was poorly written.

The online predator law is a big help to law enforcement trying to catch those who would use computers to solicit sex from children. The challenge was to the original state law which has since been amended in a way that some defense attorneys think fixes it.

King Alexander. with the public defenders office, had argued the law infringes on a person’s right to free speech. “Electronic textual communication has been held by the United States Supreme Court to be free speech and that’s precisely what this statute criminalizes.”

Yet Carla Sigler with the Calcasieu DA’s office says the law is regulating conduct, not speech and that trying to solicit a child is not protected speech. “What is prohibited is somebody sexually soliciting a minor child via the Internet or someone they suspect to be a minor child. The act of typing in the email communication and soliciting that child is conduct rather than speech.”

Alexander also argued the law made criminal communication that would be legal face to face between a 17 year old and 18 year old. “It criminalizes a solicitation over the computer that would be perfectly legal to do verbally in person. In fact it would be perfectly legal to go ahead and consummate the conduct that’s being proposed.”

But Sigler says those aren’t the kind of cases being prosecuted. “The majority of cases that we have in our office are when someone who is in their forties or fifties is trying to sexually solicit a minor child who is thirteen or fourteen years old.”

After hearing argument from both sides judge Todd Clemons agreed the original law may have been poorly written, even flawed, but is not unconstitutional.

As well, Judge Clemons says the law serves a compelling interest of the state, by protecting minors from being solicited by adults for sexual purposes.

Published in: on November 25, 2008 at 6:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

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