On April 6, 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois (“ACLU”) and the Electronic Freedom Foundation (“EFF”) filed an amicus brief at the Illinois Supreme Court, urging the Court to declare unconstitutional the State’s Sex Offender Registration Act (“SORA”). SORA imposes jail time on a registered sex offender who fails to report “Internet communications identities” to law enforcement, and broadly applies to such activity writing an online letter to the editor, posting a political comment, or researching health information.
The Defendant-Appellee in the case, Mr. Minnis, committed a misdemeanor sexual offense several years ago as a juvenile . He served 12 months’ probation and following which was added to the sexual offender registry. He was recently arrested and charged with a Class 3 felony punishable by a year in prison after he failed to report to police a Facebook account to which he had uploaded a photo. SORA, codified at 730 ILCS 150, imposes considerable burdens on registered sex offenders, requiring them to report “all e-mail addresses, instant messaging identities, chat room identities, and other Internet communications identities that the sex offender uses or plans to use, all Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) registered or used by the sex offender, all blogs and other Internet sites maintained by the sex offenders or to which the sex offender has uploaded any content or posted any messages or information ”.