CINCINNATI – Photographer Mark Byron was so bothered by his pending divorce and child visitation issues that he blasted his soon-to-be ex-wife on his personal Facebook page.Byron was found in contempt of court for that? His wife is an evil, vindictive woman who wants to ruin his life and take his son's father away from him. That is obvious from the above story about the court action she has taken against him.
That touched off a battle that resulted in a Hamilton County judge ordering Byron jailed for his Facebook rant — or, to avoid the jail sentence, to post on his page an apology to his wife and all of his Facebook friends, something free-speech experts found troubling.
"The idea that a court can say, 'I order you not to post something or to post something' seems to me to be a First Amendment issue," said free-speech expert Jack Greiner, who also is The Cincinnati Enquirer's lawyer. ...
Mark Byron also argued that the same court prevented him from seeing his son. In a Nov. 23, 2011, Facebook posting, he blasted the situation and the judicial system he believed wronged him.
"… if you are an evil, vindictive woman who wants to ruin your husband's life and take your son's father away from him completely — all you need to do is say that you're scared of your husband or domestic partner… , " he wrote on Facebook.
Elizabeth Byron learned of the post — even though her husband had blocked her from viewing his page — and thought it violated a previous protective order that prevented Mark Byron from doing anything to cause his wife "to suffer physical and/or mental abuse, harassment, annoyance, or bodily injury." ...
Domestic Relations Magistrate Paul Meyers found Mark Byron in contempt and ordered him jailed for 60 days beginning March 19 — or to post for 30 days on his Facebook page an apology to his wife, written by Meyers, if he wanted to avoid jail. He also had to pay her $1,156 in back child support and her lawyers' fees.
The US Supreme Court just just heard arguments about the limits of free speech:
Stolen Valor Act makes it a crime to falsely claim to have been awarded a military medal. Xavier Alvarez did that, but the claim harms no one, says his lawyer in his brief to the Supreme Court.So the First Amendment maybe protects lying about military medals, but not telling on a Facebook page what a vindictive wife can do in family court?