The Champion

January-February 2017 , Page 11 

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Inside NACDL: The Synergy Between Policy Advocacy and Litigation - A Dismissed Traffic Ticket Can Be a Ticket to Systemic Reform

By Norman L. Reimer

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In the catalogue of modern life’s minor pleasures is the sheer joy of beating a traffic ticket. Lester Gerard Packingham, Jr. had that experience when his North Carolina ticket was dismissed. He shared that joy with this exuberant Facebook posting:

Man. God is Good! How about I got so much favor they dismissed the ticket before court even started? No fine, no court costs, no nothing spent … Praise be to GOD, WOW! Thanks JESUS!1 

Unfortunately, for the act of sharing his delight with that innocuous Facebook post, Lester Packingham was convicted of a felony.

Under North Carolina law, it is a Class I felony for an individual who is on North Carolina’s Sex Offender and Public Protection Registry to access any commercial social networking website that he knows does not restrict access to adults.2 Packingham had been placed on the registry because of a 2002 conviction, when he was a 21-year-old college student, for a single count of taking indecent liberties with a minor.3 He h

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