CHARLESTON– West Virginia’s top court has ruled that completely restricting access to the internet as a condition of parole violates the First Amendment.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the West Virginia Supreme Court handed down an opinion March 12 saying it was unconstitutional for the state’s parole board to revoke Bobby Ross II’s parole because his girlfriend had a computer with internet access that he didn’t use.
In 1988, Ross was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman from whom he stole money. He was paroled in 2014, and rearrested seven months later.
The court upheld a 2015 ruling ordering Ross’ release.
The justices did rule Ross violated his parole for using marijuana, but the years he’s been imprisoned for that isn’t within state law’s scope.
Online records show Ross remains in prison.