Justices to decide if sex offender’s internet restriction unconstitutional

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The Indiana Lawyer.com on 12/08/2017 by Olivia Covington

After being convicted of incest with his teenage niece, a Tippecanoe County man’s sentence contained several probation conditions, including a prohibition on accessing websites “frequented by children” and a prohibition on internet use without prior approval. Those conditions are the subject of an appeal now under review by the Indiana Supreme Court, which will decide whether the conditions, as applied, are unconstitutional.

During oral arguments Thursday in Kristopher Weida v. State of Indiana, 79S02-1711-CR-00687, Brian Karle, counsel for Weida, argued against the constitutionality of the probation conditions, telling the justices the conditions can be viewed as the equivalent of a complete internet ban. That’s because there’s no guarantee Weida’s probation officer would approve any requests for internet use, and because there are no parameters defining what a website “frequented by children” is.

Weida made similar arguments before the Indiana Court of Appeals, but a majority of the appellate panel upheld the conditions in August. Judge John Baker, however, dissented as to the requirement for Weida to get permission before using the web, finding that condition was “unduly intrusive and unnecessarily restrictive.”