Free access to the internet is a right, not a privilege. Internet access is a right that is protected by the United States Constitution, regardless of crime. This very right has been challenged in the Federal courts, offenders have won. Thus nobody, regardless of past history should not be forced by any state or state agency to loose that RIGHT. This is something that Matt is and will continue to fight.... The law is on his side, and I hope that he continues the fight and paves the way for others to follow his foot steps. Things like this is what starts people down the road to change, it re-kindles the fire and motivates persons even more to move forward looking for change!!! The law on this issue is on our side and we will fight!
These restrictions have been challenged, and the offenders have won, In 287 F3d 122 United States v. Sofsky it was as clear as can be... Read the case, it is an interesting case. Here is an excerpt:
In the pending appeal, the challenged condition of supervised release was not recommended in the PSR, and Sofsky had no prior knowledge that it would be imposed. Both because the alleged error relates only to sentencing and because Sofsky lacked prior notice, we will entertain his challenge without insisting on strict compliance with the rigorous standards of Rule 52(b).
The merits. A sentencing court may order a special condition of supervised release that is "reasonably related" to several of the statutory factors governing the selection of sentences, "involves no greater deprivation of liberty than is reasonably necessary" for several statutory purposes of sentencing, and is consistent with Sentencing Commission policy statements. 18 U.S.C. § 3583(d). Although the discretion thus conferred is broad, we have cautioned that we will "carefully scrutinize unusual and severe conditions." United States v. Doe, 79 F.3d 1309, 1319 (2d Cir.1996) (internal quotation marks omitted).
We previously considered a sentencing component that prohibited access to a computer or the Internet in United States v. Peterson, 248 F.3d 79, 82-84 (2d Cir.2001). The restriction was imposed as a condition of probation for a defendant convicted of larceny because of the defendant's prior state conviction for incest and his accessing of adult pornography on his home computer. Noting that "[c]omputers and Internet access have become virtually indispensable in the modern world of communications and information gathering," id. at 83, we ruled the condition unreasonable. Appellate courts considering a similar restriction imposed upon defendants convicted of child pornography offenses have reached different conclusions. Compare United States v. White, 244 F.3d 1199, 1205-07 (10th Cir.2001) (invalidating and requiring modification of restriction imposed on defendant who used Internet to receive child pornography), with United States v. Paul, 274 F.3d 155, 169 (5th Cir.2001) (upholding restriction imposed on defendant who produced child pornography and used Internet to distribute it), and United States v. Crandon, 173 F.3d 122, 127-28 (3d Cir.1999) (upholding restriction imposed on defendant who used Internet to contact 14-year-old girl with whom he had sexual relations and photographed such conduct).
We appreciate the Government's point that permitting Sofsky access to a computer and the Internet after serving his ten-year sentence can facilitate continuation of his electronic receipt of child pornography, but we are more persuaded by the observation in Peterson that "[a]lthough a defendant might use the telephone to commit fraud, this would not justify248 F.3d at 83. The same could be said of a prohibition on the use of the mails imposed on a defendant convicted of mail fraud. A total ban on Internet access prevents use of email, an increasingly widely used form of communication and, as the Tenth Circuit noted, prevents other common-place computer uses such as "do[ing] any research, get[ting] a weather forecast, or read[ing] a newspaper online." White, 244 F.3d at 1206. Although the condition prohibiting Sofsky from accessing a computer or the Internet without his probation officer's approval is reasonably related to the purposes of his sentencing, in light of the nature of his offense, we hold that the condition inflicts a greater deprivation on Sofsky's liberty than is reasonably necessary.
The Government contended at oral argument that the restriction must be broad because a restriction limited to accessing pornography would be extremely difficult for the probation officer to enforce without constant monitoring of Sofsky's use of his computer. There are several responses. First, to the extent that even a broad restriction would be enforced by the probation officer, monitoring (presumably unannounced) of Sofsky would be required to check if he was using a computer at all. Second, a more focused restriction, limited to pornography sites and images, can be enforced by unannounced inspections of Sofsky's premises and examination of material stored on his hard drive or removable disks.4 Cf. United States v. Knights, 534 U.S. 112, 122 S.Ct. 587, 591-93, 151 L.Ed.2d 497 (2001) (rejecting Fourth Amendment challenge to search, on reasonable suspicion, of probationer's premises). Finally, the Government can check on Sofsky's Internet usage with a sting operation — surreptitiously inviting him to respond to Government placed Internet ads for pornography. See White, 244 F.3d at 1201.
For all the above reasons, the condition of supervised release prohibiting all computer and Internet access is vacated, and the case is remanded for entry of a more restricted condition.
Constitution. I believe that our forefathers are rolling over in there graves thinking about how the document that they spent so much time and fought so hard to create and defend has been shredded in this manner. A sad, sad day for democracy! Freedom of speech unless they don't like what you are saying... Reminds me of this time in Europe when a very charismatic man came through and 'removed' from society those that he did not care for or disagreed with him.
Matt is going to allow the Wisconsin Department of Corrections the time to educate themselves on this cause, and allow them to correct the wrong that have done. If they are unwilling to let him exercise his rights by allowing him to get internet, his is 100% willing to take this back to the sentencing courts and challenging this condition. This is a RIGHT, and unless we stand up and protect the few rights that he has left, he will have nothing, and if they do this to him, what will they take next?
Feel free to leave as many comments as you want on this issue. The Wisconsin Department of Corrections does have the new site address, as he did provide it to them as part of the administrative appeal process. We need your support more now then ever.... Lets help him get his rights back!!!