Court lifts computer ban on sex offender
Published 03/04/2010 | 05:00
A convicted sex offender should not have been forbidden to use or possess a computer for 30 years after he was released from prison, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday.
A three-judge panel agreed with prosecutors and the man's lawyer that the restriction was too harsh.
Mark Wayne Russell of Columbia, Maryland, had been caught in a 2006 sex sting trying to meet someone he found through the internet and thought was a 13-year-old girl.
Russell had served several years in prison and challenged the release conditions.
As part of his sentence, Russell was ordered not to own or use a computer "for any reason". The 15-page appeals court ruling said that was not fair, particularly to a 50-year-old man who worked for 10 years as an applied systems engineer.
The judges noted it was often necessary to use a computer to apply for a job and found that a 30-year ban on computer use would hinder Russell's rehabilitation.