US woman faces a year in jail for tagging sister-in-law on Facebook and calling her ‘stupid’
A New York woman faces a year in jail for tagging and calling her former sister-in-law “stupid” in a Facebook post after a court order had prohibited her from contacting her ex-husband’s family.
Gonzalez was banned from contacting Maribel Calderon after her divorce from Maribel’s brother Rafael Calderon. In other words, she had been placed under a protection order, meaning that she could not contact Calderon either verbally or electronically.
She is now being prosecuted for second-degree criminal contempt as US Acting Westchester County Supreme Court Justice Susan Capeci ruled that the Facebook post Gonzalez create could be considered as an electronic communication.
Gonzalez is accused of calling Maribel “stupid” in the post and saying, “You and your family are sad … You guys have to come stronger than that!! I’m way over you guys but I guess not in ya agenda.”
Gonzalez’s court-appointed attorney, Kim Frohlinger tried to argue that the protection order “did not specifically prohibit (her) from Facebook communication” with her Maribel.
To this, Supreme Court Justice Susan Capeci disagreed, saying, “The order of protection prohibited the defendant from contacting the protected party by electronic or any other means,” New York Post reported. Facebook is, indeed, an electronic method of contacting someone.
“The allegations that she contacted the victim by tagging her in a Facebook posting which the victim was notified of is thus sufficient for pleading purposes to establish a violation of the order of protection,” the judge ordered.
The story serves as a warning to all Facebook users. What you think might be a private communication on Facebook can still get you into trouble.
The New York Post quotes Manhattan matrimonial attorney Michael Stutman – who isn’t involved in the current case – as saying the ruling proves one thing: “Everything you post anywhere can possibly be used against you” and that could, indeed, be in a court of law.
Gonzalez’s attorney, Ms Frohlinger told the New York Post that her client would not appeal the ruling.