SCOTUS to Decide: Can a Facebook Post Be Illegal?

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A legal case about the rights of registered sex offenders has gone all the way to the Supreme Court.
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In 2010, a man named Lester Packingham did what so many of us do: He shared a bit of happy news on social media after he beat a parking ticket.

"Man God is Good! How about I got so much favor they dismissed the ticket before court even started? No fine, no court costs, no nothing spent… Praise be to GOD, WOW! Thanks Jesus," Lester wrote in a Facebook post.

But Lester is a registered sex offender, and in North Carolina where Lester lives, it is a felony to access any “commercial social networking website” that he or she “knows” does not restrict membership to adults.

A police officer saw that post, and Lester was convicted of violating state law. But after a series of appeals, his case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, and oral arguments are scheduled for next week.

Lester's case is the latest installment in our Case in Point series with The Marshall Project. Andrew Cohen, commentary editor at The Marshall Project, and Glenn Gerding, North Carolina Appellate Defender, who has been representing Lester in his legal battle, discuss the case today on The Takeaway. Click on the 'Listen' button above to hear the full conversation.