Illinois Courts Debate Teen Defendants Social Media Law

Apr 4, 2018

Illinois courts are considering if a state law that allows judges to limit teen defendants' social media postings unfairly restricts defendants' First Amendment freedoms.

Illinois judges have seen how social media can amplify gang disputes. They've been imposing restrictions to defendants' social media usage with the goal of curbing violence. 

But appellate courts have recently split over if such orders infringe on a person's free-speech rights.

Juvenile Court Presiding Judge Michael Toomin's office last year drafted language for judges to use at sentencing that bars "photos, videos or messages promoting street gang activity." It also allows judges to order teens to remove existing content from social media.

Experts say clearer boundaries may eventually need to be drawn by the state Supreme Court.