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Normal man seeks dismissal of sex offender registry charge

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BLOOMINGTON — A sex offender registration charge should be dismissed against a Normal man because the statutory limit for filing the offense has expired, the man's lawyer argues in a new court filing.

Mark Minnis was first charged in 2014 with failure to provide police with information about his Facebook account as part of his 2010 conviction on a misdemeanor charge of having sex with a 14-year-old girl when he was 16.

Minnis, of Normal has since been removed from the registry of juvenile sex offenders; the law places juvenile offenders on the public registry for 10 years.

In her motion filed Aug. 3, defense lawyer Stephanie Wong of Bloomington  argues that the Aug. 26, 2014 date of the alleged violation falls outside the three-year statutory limitation for filing the charge.

The state refiled the case in June. 

The state dismissed the initial charge against Minnis in 2015 pending an Illinois Supreme Court review of a constitutional issue related to the case. 

The case moved into the national spotlight as part of the legal debate over free speech rights for sex offenders.

In 2015, former McLean County judge Robert Freitag dismissed the charges against Minnis based on his opinion that the state law was unconstitutional.  The legal mandate requiring sex offenders to report their internet and social media activity is overly broad, the judge ruled.

The Illinois Supreme Court reversed Freitag's decision in 2016, stating that free speech extends to the internet, but concluding that right is not absolute.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office became involved in the case after the constitutionality issues were raised. The state is expected to argue its position on the matter at an October hearing in McLean County.

Among the cases that could impact Minnis and similar cases is a June 2017 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down a North Carolina law banning sex offenders from social media websites that allow minors to have accounts.

Contact Edith Brady-Lunny at (309) 820-3276. Follow her on Twitter: @pg_blunny

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