University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Doe v. Harris FA-CA-0008
Docket / Court 3:12-cv-05713-TEH ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Speech and Religious Freedom
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
In the 2012 general election, California's voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 35, a human trafficking ballot initiative. Proposition 35 enacted the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act (CASE Act), which requires that anyone who is a registered sex offender-including people with ... read more >
In the 2012 general election, California's voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 35, a human trafficking ballot initiative. Proposition 35 enacted the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act (CASE Act), which requires that anyone who is a registered sex offender-including people with misdemeanor offenses such as indecent exposure and whose offenses were not related to activity on the internet-to turn over to law enforcement their e-mail addresses, user and screen names, or any other identifier they used for instant messaging, for social networking sites, or at online forums and in internet chat rooms.

On November 7, 2012, The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of two registered sex offenders and a putative class of all such persons, as well as a website on which sex offender laws are discussed and debated. The plaintiffs sought class certification as well as declaratory and injunctive relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State of California. The complaint alleges that the requirements of the law will burden and chill protected speech, in violation of plaintiffs' rights under the First Amendment, Due Process Clause, Equal Protection Clause, and Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution.

The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson in San Francisco, who immediately granted a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of the law. Doe v. Harris, 2012 WL 6101870 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 7, 2012). At this point, two private citizens who were proponents of Proposition 35 intended to intervene as co-defendants. On January 10, 2013, Judge Henderson granted their Motion to Intervene. Doe v. Harris, 2013 WL 140053 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 10, 2013). The Court noted that the interveners were not entitled to intervene but the Court permitted it anyway in the hope that their intervention would contribute to a just and equitable resolution of the disputes.

On January 11, 2013, Judge Henderson granted the plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction. Doe v. Harris, 2013 WL 144048 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 11, 2013). The court applied intermediate scrutiny. The court found that the state government had failed to demonstrate that the reporting requirement under the CASE Act was narrowly tailored to serve its legitimate interests in protecting individuals from sex offenses and human-trafficking. Accordingly, the court concluded that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed on their First Amendment speech claim, noting that the plaintiffs enjoyed no lesser right to anonymous speech simply because they were unpopular. Therefore, the court enjoined the state government and all law enforcement personnel from implementing the reporting requirement under the CASE Act.

The State and two private intervenors appealed the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The district court stayed the proceedings pending the appeal. As of September 24, 2014 the appeal is ongoing.

Emma Bao - 06/17/2013
Richard Jolly - 10/14/2014
- 10/14/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Ex Post Facto
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Confidentiality
Disparate Treatment
Sex offender regulation
Website
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of California
Plaintiff Description Individuals being previously convicted of sex-related offenses required to register under California Penal Code § 290 to provide the police with their Internet identifiers and service providers and a non-profit organization California Reform Sex Offender Laws with its mission to protect the rights of those accused or convicted of sex crimes.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2012 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
3:12−cv−05713 (N.D. Cal.) 08/21/2013
FA-CA-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 11/07/2012
FA-CA-0008-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source:
Order Granting Temporary Restraining Order and Order to Show Cause as to Why a Preliminary Injunction Should Not Issue 11/07/2012 (2012 WL 6101870) (N.D. Cal.)
FA-CA-0008-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order re Extension of Temporary Restraining Order and Briefing and Hearing Schedule Regarding Plaintiffs’ Motion for a Preliminary Injunction 11/14/2012 (N.D. Cal.)
FA-CA-0008-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Administrative Motion to Submit Notice of Grant of Certiorari and Clarifying Evidence 12/18/2012 (N.D. Cal.)
FA-CA-0008-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion to Intervene 01/10/2013 (2013 WL 140053) (N.D. Cal.)
FA-CA-0008-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction 01/11/2013 (2013 WL 144048) (N.D. Cal.)
FA-CA-0008-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Henderson, Thelton Eugene (N.D. Cal.)
FA-CA-0008-0002 | FA-CA-0008-0003 | FA-CA-0008-0004 | FA-CA-0008-0005 | FA-CA-0008-0006 | FA-CA-0008-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fakhoury, Hanni Meena (California)
FA-CA-0008-0001 | FA-CA-0008-9000
Lye, Linda (California)
FA-CA-0008-0001 | FA-CA-0008-9000
Risher , Michael Temple (California)
FA-CA-0008-0001 | FA-CA-0008-9000
Tien, Lee (California)
FA-CA-0008-0001 | FA-CA-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Wilson, Robert David (California)
FA-CA-0008-9000
Other Lawyers Getman, Karen Ann (California)
FA-CA-0008-9000
Harrison, James C. (California)
FA-CA-0008-9000
Prinzing, Margaret R. (California)
FA-CA-0008-9000

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