Albuquerque's Attempt to Ban Sex Offenders Completely from Public Libraries Unconstitutional

Doe v. City of Albuquerque, 2012 WL 164442 (1/20/12) (N.M.) (Published) - City's denial of library access to sex offenders struck down. The 10th strongly hinted it might approve such a denial if the record below was better. The city took the litigation strategy that, since the challenge was a facial one, it had no burden to show its ban was narrowly tailored and left open alternative channels of communication. So it refused to submit any evidence on those matters. The 10th said the presumption of constitutionality did not apply where the First Amendment was implicated. So it was not enough for the city to imagine a hypothetical scenario where the ban could be validly applied, as the city claimed. The 10th concluded by repeating the false notion that sex offenders have a high rate of recidivism and then saying: "our conclusion does not reflect a pronouncement on the ultimate legality or merit of the city's ban. We are sympathetic to the city's desire to ensure public libraries provide a safe, welcoming environment and can imagine an effort to restrict library access of sex offenders succeeding through a revised ordinance where the restriction satisfies the time, place and manner test." But the 10th reluctantly conceded it was constrained by the record to affirm overturning the ban