One of my worst fears being on the registry recently came true somewhat, but luckily it was not as bad as I expected it to be.
I am in a state that does not criminalize us from being on social media, so I have a social media account on just about every platform.
I specifically use Facebook for business purposes.
My worst fear was that someone would discover my status and report me to Facebook. As many of you know, Facebook has it in their terms and conditions that we are not allowed to use their service. This means that at any given time, they can delete my account. While I don’t agree with them being able to discriminate against us in this way, it is what it is for now.
Recently, a former business colleague of mine decided to try to “reveal” my status to all of my friends, family, etc. I blocked her before she got through my entire friend’s list, but the damage was done. A few of my long time business associates decided to unfriend me.
What upsets me the most about this is that this person knew of my status almost two years ago. She claimed that she was non-judgmental and we remained friends for a while after that. I continued to help her in areas of her business and she is now fairly successful in her business. She then turned around and gave business for the same product I had to another person. Now, here we are two years later and she decides to start hating on me for my previous criminal conviction. I was convicted of possession of child pornography in 2010.
Luckily, she didn’t get too far into my friend’s list nor did she report me to Facebook. At least I don’t think she did. Many people don’t know about the restriction through Facebook. I have read recently though that Facebook is not deleting accounts based on that alone very often. Either way, I still currently have my account.
This experience sent me into a state of depression for about a week though. I thought my friends were going to start dropping like flies. My significant other knows of my situation, but many in her family are unaware, so that was a concern of mine as well.
I’ve been checking the Supreme Court’s website every day for the Packingham v. North Carolina decision. This decision is to decide whether a state can criminalize access to social media based on being included on the registry. Although anyone who is following this case can see that the court will rule in favor of Packingham, it really matters how the decision is written. This decision, if written more favorably, could have a far reaching precedent applied to the entire registry as a whole. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this and another sex offense case heard on the same day are among the last to be decided.
Obviously, my hope is that the decision leads to the removal of the registry. What I expect, though, is that it will lead to the removal of legislation that restricts us more than is needed to further the government’s interest. This will mean the removal of range restrictions which violate the Ninth amendment first and foremost. Second, it will remove the justification for civil commitment which violates the Eighth amendment. It may take some more court battles using Packingham as a precedent, but I believe it has the potential to remove the public notification and public access as well.
I think many of us would have no problem with the registry if it was law enforcement only and did not impose unnecessary constraints. I personally don’t agree with forcing the former offender to pay for the registry though. I believe this is a violation of the fifth and fourteenth amendments. I have refused to pay a dime every time and I will take them to court if they try to enforce it on me.