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Sentencing

Lifetime Internet Ban Overturned

Posted Jun 11, 2007 8:28 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal appeals court has overturned a lifetime ban on Internet use imposed on a man who pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in Philadelphia ruled the sentence violated a statute that requires post-prison restrictions on defendants to be narrowly tailored, the Legal Intelligencer reports.

"The lifetime ban on all computer equipment and the Internet is the functional equivalent of prohibiting a defendant who pleads guilty to possession of magazines containing child pornography from ever possessing any books or magazines of any type during the remainder of his/her life," Judge Theodore McKee Jr. wrote for the three-judge panel.

The opinion also took U.S. District Judge Alan Bloch of Pittsburgh, Pa., to task for imposing the sentence after the appeals court twice vacated a similar sentence he imposed.

The June 5 opinion is United States v. Voelker (PDF).

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