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Case Name Jones v. Stanford CJ-NY-0016
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-01332 ( E.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Speech and Religious Freedom
Attorney Organization New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU)
Prisoners' Legal Services of New York (PLSNY)
Case Summary
This is a lawsuit about whether the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) can ban individuals required to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) from accessing social media and the internet. On March 12, 2020 six people required to register ... read more >
This is a lawsuit about whether the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) can ban individuals required to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) from accessing social media and the internet. On March 12, 2020 six people required to register under SORA, filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, where it was assigned to District Judge Raymond J. Dearie. The plaintiffs sued the Chairwoman of the New York State Board of Parole and the Acting Commissioner of DOCCS under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Rutgers Constitutional Rights Clinic, and Prisoners Legal Services of New York, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as attorneys’ fees. The plaintiffs’ claimed that the defendants’ policies prohibiting them from accessing the internet and social media violated their First Amendment rights.

DOCCS policy, and to a lesser extent, New York’s Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP), prohibits individuals required to register under SORA from accessing the internet and social media sites. These policies apply irrespective of whether the individual’s past offenses involved use of the internet or social media. In 2017, the Supreme Court struck down criminal statute that imposed similar restrictions on First Amendment grounds in Packingham v. North Carolina, 137 S. Ct. 1730 (2017), setting the stage for this lawsuit.

After the case was filed in March 2020, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on June 1, 2020, voluntarily dismissing the case with respect to one of the named plaintiffs. The legal claims, however, were identical to the original complaint.

On August 25, 2020, the plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction. On September 9, 2020, Judge Dearie granted the motion and enjoined DOCCS’s internet and social media policies with respect to individual who did not use the internet to facilitate the offense that resulted in their SORA registration. Citing Packingham, the court held that DOCCS’s blanket prohibitions denying SORA registrants access to the internet did not survive immediate scrutiny analysis.

The injunction immediately went into effect with respect to the named plaintiffs. However, the defendants twice moved to temporarily stay the injunction's general application, citing the difficulty of creating a plan to implement the preliminary injunction and identifying a subset of SORA registrants who would be forbidden from accessing social media by New York's e-STOP law. Judge Dearie granted both stays on September 22 and October 9, 2020, but the second stay expired on October 16, 2020. The case is ongoing.

Jonah Hudson-Erdman - 10/18/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Parole grant/revocation
Religious programs / policies
Sex offender regulation
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Chairwoman of the New York State Board of Parole
Commissioner
Plaintiff Description 6 individuals under the supervision of New York DOCCS required to register under SORA.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU)
Prisoners' Legal Services of New York (PLSNY)
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 03/12/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
E.D.N.Y.
10/09/2020
1:20-cv-01332-RJD-SJB
CJ-NY-0016-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D.N.Y.
03/12/2020
Complaint [ECF# 1 & 1-1]
CJ-NY-0016-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D.N.Y.
06/01/2020
Amended Complaint [ECF# 17]
CJ-NY-0016-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D.N.Y.
09/09/2020
Memorandum & Order [ECF# 37]
CJ-NY-0016-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Bulsara, Sanket J Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0016-9000
Dearie, Raymond Joseph (D.D.C., E.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0016-0003 | CJ-NY-0016-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Biklen, Molly Knopp (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0016-0001 | CJ-NY-0016-0002 | CJ-NY-0016-9000
Bogin, James M. (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0016-0001
Burzynski, Julia (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0016-0001
Campbell, Emahunn (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0016-0001
Cassidy, Michael (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0016-0001 | CJ-NY-0016-0002 | CJ-NY-0016-9000
Karteron, Alexis Brie (New Jersey) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0016-0001 | CJ-NY-0016-0002 | CJ-NY-0016-9000
Lambright, Daniel Ross (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0016-0001 | CJ-NY-0016-0002 | CJ-NY-0016-9000
Murtagh-Monks, Karen L. (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0016-0001 | CJ-NY-0016-0002
Pallarino, Emma (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0016-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Schulze, Daniel A. (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0016-9000
Turkle, Bruce (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0016-9000

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