(Washington, Feb 23) In what can only be described as a blatant violation of an individuals first amendment rights a Cincinnati court magistrate recently imposed a 6o day jail sentence for a man who posted an angry rant on his Facebook page concerning his divorce and custody battle.
Photographer Mark Byron had a son with his wife in 2010 and soon after the marriage became problematic. She accused him of domestic abuse and “threatening her with his fists.” He was exonerated only later to have a civil restraining order issued against him ordering him to stay away from his wife. Angry about the limited access he had to his son and the bitter divorce proceedings he posted an angry rant on his Facebook page in November of last year.
“…if you are an evil, vindictive woman who wants to ruin your husbands 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 posted on Facebook.
Even though his wife was blocked from his page she saw it and told court officials she was “embarrassed” by the post. Court Magistrate Paul Myers determined that Mark’s rant on his Facebook page violated the protection order and ordered him to take down the post and put in its place an apology, written by Myers, or face 60 days in jail. Byron also has to pay his wife’s attorneys fees brought about by the Facebook issue if he wishes to avoid jail.
“It’s outlandish,” Mark Byron said. “I’m afraid to do anything. People are even fearful that Facebook can be regulated by a judge.”
The case is next in court March 19.