Sunday, September 25, 2016

Limit On Parolee's Ability To Attend Church Is Too Broad

In United States v. Hernandez, (ED NY, Sept. 20, 2016), a New York federal district court held unconstitutional a condition of supervised release limiting church attendance that was imposed on defendant after he completed 4 years in prison for receiving child pornography.  Defendant, a 38-year old man, was not permitted to attend church services where minors are present. The court said that this totally prevents him from attending the church of his choice with his father. The court concluded:
Defendant has a right to attend church services. Preventing him from going to his place of worship because the services are also attended by minors unnecessarily burdens that right. It is reasonable to apply a condition that defendant not physically touch minors while attending church services, unless doing so is a part of his religious obligation.... This condition is narrowly tailored. It strikes the necessary balance of allowing defendant to exercise his freedom to associate and participate in religious services, while protecting minors.