Saturday 24 February 2018

Court lifts computer ban on sex offender

Dan Earls in Washington

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.

Irish Independent

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