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He said Kopf's ruling upheld the Constitution as a document that protects even sex offenders, who are viewed by many Nebraskans, as Kopf said in his order, as the lepers of the 21st century."The Constitution, if it does not protect this group of people, it does not protect any of us," Dornan said. As scathing as Kopf's 73-page order was at times, the judge did also set out a pathway for Nebraska lawmakers to cure it."Plainly put: Concentrate on demonstrated risk rather than speculating and burdening more speech than is necessary -- use a scalpel rather than a blunderbuss," the judge said.
As it was, Kopf said Nebraska lawmakers had gone too far, putting a stake through the heart of the First Amendment and gutting protections against suspicion-less searches.
essentially admitted the punitive intent of these provisions," Kopf said.
At trial, the attorney general's office argued that the laws did not keep offenders from using the Internet entirely.
But Kopf said the Nebraska Legislature went far beyond its purported purpose when it criminalized the provisions."These statutes retroactively render sex offenders, who were sentenced prior to the effective date of these statutes, second-class citizens," he said. They are rendered insecure in their homes."He said lawmakers could draft a statute that required convicted sex offenders to provide Internet addresses that the state could track, rather than requiring sex offenders to constantly update the state about when and where they post, for instance.
The bill's stated purpose was to protect children from sexual predators by strengthening penalties and bringing the state's laws up to date.
But in a Judiciary Committee session on the record, Lautenbaugh said he had a "revulsion" for people convicted of these crimes and admitted some provisions were harsh and restrictive with the purpose of limiting and tracking what they're using the Internet for and to avoid a repeat offense.
The state also could narrow social networking and chatroom restrictions to offenders who committed their crimes using the Internet, he said."There is not the slightest reason to believe that such a targeted solution would not be sufficient to address Nebraska's legitimate, rather than speculative, concerns for children," Kopf said.