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Case Profile

Docket Number 15-1194
Term 2016
Full Name Lester Gerard Packingham v. North Carolina
Short Name Lester Gerard Packingham v. North Carolina
Petitioner Lester Gerard Packingham
Respondent North Carolina
Date Argued (Reargued) Feb. 27, 2017
Date Decided

Question Presented

The North Carolina Supreme Court sustained petitioner's conviction under a criminal law, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-202.5, that makes it a felony for any person on the State's registry of former sex offenders to "access" a wide array of websites-including Facebook, YouTube, and nytimes.com-that enable communication, expression, and the exchange of information among their users, if the site is "know[n]" to allow minors to have accounts. The law-which applies to thousands of people who, like petitioner, have completed all criminal justice supervision-does not require the State to prove that the accused had contact with (or gathered information about) a minor, or intended to do so, or accessed a website for any illicit or improper purpose. The question presented is: Whether, under this Court's First Amendment precedents, such a law is permissible, both on its face and as applied to petitioner - who was convicted based on a Facebook "post" in which he celebrated dismissal of a traffic ticket, declaring "God is Good!"

Case Events

No Date Description
35 2017-02-16 Reply of petitioner Lester Gerard Packingham filed. (Distributed)
34 2017-01-31 Record received from the Supreme Court of North Carolina and North Carolina Court of Appeals. The record is electronic.
33 2017-01-24 Brief amici curiae of Council of State Governments, et al. filed.
32 2017-01-24 Brief amici curiae of Stop Child Predators, and Shared Hope International filed. (Distributed)
31 2017-01-23 Brief amici curiae of State of Louisiana,and Twelve Other States filed. (Distributed)
30 2017-01-18 CIRCULATED.
29 2017-01-17 Brief of respondent North Carolina filed. (Distributed)
28 2016-12-30 Record requested from the Supreme Court of North Carolina
27 2016-12-22 Brief amici curiae of Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), et al. filed.
26 2016-12-22 Brief amici curiae of Electronic Frontier Foundation, et al. filed.
25 2016-12-22 Brief amici curiae of Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, et al. filed.
24 2016-12-22 SET FOR ARGUMENT on Monday, February 27, 2017.
23 2016-12-22 Brief amici curiae of Cato Institute, et al. filed.
22 2016-12-22 Brief amicus curiae of The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers filed.
21 2016-12-21 Brief amici curiae of Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Thomas Jefferson Center for Protection of Free Expression filed.
20 2016-12-15 Joint appendix filed.
19 2016-12-15 Brief of petitioner Lester Gerard Packingham filed.
18 2016-12-12 Consent to the filing of amicus curiae briefs in support of either party or of neither party from counsel for the petitioner.
17 2016-11-18 The time to file the joint appendix and petitioner's brief on the merits is extended to and including December 15, 2016.
16 2016-11-16 Consent to the filing of amicus curiae briefs in support of either party or of neither party from counsel for the respondent.
15 2016-10-28 Petition GRANTED.
14 2016-10-24 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of October 28, 2016.
13 2016-10-11 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of October 14, 2016.
12 2016-10-03 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of October 7, 2016.
11 2016-07-22 Reply of petitioner Lester Gerard Packingham filed. (Distributed)
10 2016-07-20 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of September 26, 2016.
9 2016-06-30 Brief of respondent North Carolina in opposition filed.
8 2016-05-26 Order extending time to file response to petition to and including June 30, 2016.
7 2016-04-28 Response Requested . (Due May 31, 2016)
6 2016-04-20 Brief amici curiae of Profs. Ashutosh Bhagwat, et al. filed. (Distributed)
5 2016-04-19 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of May 12, 2016.
4 2016-04-06 Waiver of right of respondent North Carolina to respond filed.
3 2016-03-21 Petition for a writ of certiorari filed. (Response due April 22, 2016)
2 2016-01-20 Application (15A757) granted by The Chief Justice extending the time to file until March 21, 2016.
1 2016-01-15 Application (15A757) to extend the time to file a petition for a writ of certiorari from February 4, 2016 to March 21, 2016, submitted to The Chief Justice.

Case Counsels

Name Party Name Description Address Phone Type
Anne Murray Middleton North Carolina Counsel of Record Department of Justice Post Office Box 629 Raleigh, NC 27602 amiddleton@ncdoj.com (919) 716-6585 respondent
Bruce D. Brown Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Thomas Jefferson Center for Protection of Free Expression Amicus The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press 1156 15th St., NW, Suite 1250 Washington, DC 20005 bbrown@rcfp.org (202) 795-9301 other
Colin A. Clark State of Louisiana and Twelve Other States Amicus Deputy Solicitor General Louisiana State Attorney General's Office 1885 N. Third Street Baton Rouge, LA 70802 clarkc@ag.louisiana.gov (225) 326-6200 other
David T. Goldberg Lester Gerard Packingham Counsel of Record Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic 559 Nathan Abbott Way Stanford, CA 94305 dgoldberg@law.stanford.edu (650) 498-8229 petitioner
Eugene Volokh Profs. Ashutosh Bhagwat, et al. Amicus Scott & Cyan Banister First Amendment Clinic UCLA School of Law 405 Hilgard Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90095 volokh@law.ucla.edu (310) 206-3926 other
G. Glenn Gerding Lester Gerard Packingham Amicus Office of the Appellate Defender 123 West Main Street, Suite 500 Durham, NC 27701 glenn.gerding@nccourts.org (919) 354-7210 petitioner
John C. Neiman Jr. Council of State Governments, et al. Amicus Solicitor General Office of the Alabama Attorney General 501 Washington Avenue Montgomery, AL 36104 jneiman@ago.state.al.us (334) 242-7300 other
John J. Korzen Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, et al. Amicus Wake Forest University School of Law Appellate Advocacy Clinic P.O. Box 7206 Reynolda Station Winston-Salem, NC 27109-7206 korzenjj@wfu.edu (336) 758-5832 other
Jonathan D. Hacker The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Amicus O'Melveny & Myers LLP 1625 Eye Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20006 jhacker@omm.com (202) 383-5300 other
Jonathan Sherman Electronic Frontier Foundation, et al. Amicus Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP 1401 New York Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20005 jsherman@bsfllp.com (510) 874-1000 other
Marc Rotenberg Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), et al. Amicus Electronic Privacy Information Center 1718 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 200 Washington, DC 20009 rotenberg@epic.org (202) 483-1140 other
Mark C. Fleming Cato Institute, et al. Amicus Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP 60 State Street Boston, MA 02109 mark.fleming@wilmerhale.com (617) 526-6000 other
Melissa Arbus Sherry Stop Child Predators, and Shared Hope International Amicus Latham & Watkins LLP 555 Eleventh Street, NW, Suite 1000 Washington, DC 20004 melissa.sherry@lw.com (202) 637-2200 other
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