An Arizona man got a 10-year prison sentence because of his Facebook addiction. William Hall claims his addiction to the social media site led to him to violate his probation.
Hall was convicted of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and surreptitious photographing in October 2010. As part of his sentence, Hall was given 10 years of probation and required to register as a sex offender, Forbes' website reports.
In addition, Hall also couldn't use the internet without his probation officer's approval. The tough part was that Hall was a Web designer.
It's no surprise that sex-related crimes are treated very seriously by the criminal justice system, especially when children are involved.
There are many restrictions that usually come with being a registered sex offender. They vary from state to state, but typically the laws prevent registered offenders from living near schools and require them to notify potential landlords of their status. Some even restrict the extent to which they can participate in Halloween.
In Hall's case, he wasn't allowed go online. But in his line of work, that was nearly impossible.
He eventually got permission from his probation officer to do so. Hall was given a laptop loaded with surveillance software so he could be monitored. He was also specifically prohibited from using Internet chat rooms and messaging, bulletin boards, newsgroups, and peer-to-peer networks.
Hall, however, continued to use Facebook and MySpace. But when his probation officer discovered this, those sites were blocked from his computer, too.
Hall then allegedly continued to access the social media websites by way of an unauthorized desktop computer.
He has appealed his new sentence, claiming that Facebook didn't fall into any of the prohibited Internet categories laid out to him.
Last month, an Arizona appeals court denied his request. They upheld his sentence and now William Hall faces up to 10 years in prison due to his alleged Facebook addiction.
- Facebook Addiction Leads to 10 Years in Prison for Arizona Sex Offender (Forbes)
- Sex Offender After Prison: May They Attend Church? (FindLaw Blotter)
- Sex Offenders and Sex Offense Laws (FindLaw)