NCRSOL asks Sheriff Harrison, others, to obey the law on social media restrictions

By ROBIN . . . Overwhelmed by reports coming in from several counties throughout the state, NCRSOL is getting aggressive about calling out local sheriffs who are deliberately misleading registered citizens when they ask about their right to use social media. NCRSOL recently sent a certified letter to Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison informing him about the errant information his deputies are providing to registrants who are no longer on any form of supervised release or probation. On at least two separate occasions, different registrants have specifically asked deputies under Sheriff Harrison’s supervision whether or not it was permissible for them to use social media. According to these witness accounts, they were both told that the statute remains on the books and continues to be enforceable. One of the witnesses was even told that there’s “a pending case about the use of social media.”

Let me be as clear as I can to anyone who happens to read this posting. North Carolina’s ban on the use of social media by registered citizens who are not otherwise on post-release supervision or probation is absolutely, unequivocally null and void having been struck down, in its entirety, by the United States Supreme Court in June, 2017 (See Packingham v. North Carolina). Any attempt by a law enforcement agent in the state of North Carolina to enforce this ban against a registered citizen who is no longer under any form of court-ordered supervision will constitute a false arrest. Pure and simple.

The mere fact that the statute remains searchable is irrelevant to questions regarding its legitimacy. There are hundreds of laws on the books that can no longer be enforced. Sheriff Harrison knows that. Most of the sheriffs in the state know that. And if they have any questions about a certain statute’s authority, they should refer such questions to the Attorney General’s office for a legal opinion. What sheriffs and their deputies should NOT do is provide false and unreliable information to the citizens living in their counties.

Will North Carolina’s social media statute be re-written and eventually re-enacted by the state Legislature? It is probable that the state Legislature will attempt to craft a replacement statute. How it can write such a statute narrowly enough to avoid additional constitutional review is yet to be seen. Anything too broadly written would be easily enjoined by a federal District Court. Anything written narrowly enough to pass scrutiny under the Packingham analysis is likely to be a fairly benign and practically useless law. And anything that’s even borderline constitutional will immediately be the subject of a new lawsuit by NCRSOL and our attorneys….and very likely enjoined before it’s ever able to take effect.

If you are a registered citizen living in North Carolina and you are no longer under any form of court-ordered supervision, you have a First Amendment right to access and use social media. There are still social media platforms that have corporate policies restricting your use. But as of June 19, 2017, the state of North Carolina and any derivative law enforcement agency of ANY jurisdiction within the state of North Carolina has absolutely no authority to arrest you for using social media.

However, you are still required to report your online identifiers!  VERY IMPORTANT.

If you are a registered citizen living in North Carolina (and no longer under ANY form of supervision) and have been informed by local law enforcement that you cannot use social media, please contact us immediately. If you or someone you know is threatened with arrest for using social media, please contact us immediately. You can find our contact information at the top of the home page.

Robin Vander Wall

Robin is NCRSOL's president.

6 thoughts on “NCRSOL asks Sheriff Harrison, others, to obey the law on social media restrictions

  • December 28, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    Doesn’t matter much if Facebook cancels you anyway, eh? I have not resumed that page because corporate will check my email and cancel my site,
    Online identifiers was explained to me only as email addresses. Do I need to submit all logins that are not simply the email address? Like this one?

    • December 29, 2017 at 12:21 pm

      Any unique identifier that you use to sign on to a social media website or application must be registered with your local sheriff. We recommend that you take a picture of the list as you turn it over to the deputy to have evidence that you did, in fact, submit your online identifiers. Be very careful on this. Law enforcement is locking citizens up for failing to provide these unique identifiers. We are studying the possibility of a challenge to this requirement in the near future.

  • October 20, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    I think it’s important to clarify that not everyone on court-ordered supervision is prohibited from using social media. I’m on probation (albeit from another state) and my probationary terms do not prohibit social media use. Many sexual offense sentences in NC come with prohibitions on social media use, however. If you are on parole, probation, or other supervision, review the terms of your supervision thoroughly. If there’s any doubt, then contact the officer(s) in charge of your supervision to verify.

    • October 23, 2017 at 7:17 pm

      Good advice! Thanks.

  • October 12, 2017 at 1:46 pm


    Thank you so much for all you do! I personally knew that the social media ban was no longer in effect nc for those off of paper, but I am sure there are many, many people who dont understand the court decision and/or are intimidated or bullied by law enforcement. This “claimed enforcement” by various LEO’s across the state is sickening and its truly sad when a certified letter has to be sent to a sheriff telling them their deputies are violating the law. There is no other group of people I can think of that are held to this level of accountability by LEO’s. (even ignoring a scotus court order) Im glad we have people like you who hold LEO’s accountable for what they do and I am glad you put the legislature on notice about further laws banning social media for rc’s. I have a feeling the LEO’s that are falsely telling rc’s they cant access social media are using it as a temporary crutch until the legislature convines next year. We will be ready for whatever law they try and pass in its place!

  • October 12, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Go get them Robin!

    It is very clear now the people’s intent with the SORS IS to act unconstitutionally! Another way the SOR is used wrongly is when the list is used to develop a list of “persons of interest” when persons come up missing. It cannot be in the public’s interest to investigate SOs who had no role in any given incident. Yet you and I both know it happens all too frequently, leaving the registrant feeling harassed for no reason. Whats more, law enforcement uses the list of known molesters to investigate kidnapping cases. While I am sure much overtime pay has been paid to law enforcement for such activities, it is more than a casual misuse of resources.


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