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Facebook user avoids jail


2012-03-22

A person who made comments about his separated better half on his Facebook page and was threatened with jail unless he posted daily apologies for a month will not be locked away although he stopped making amends early. Mark Byron agreed to begin posting the apology last month to avoid jail but later recounted the ruling violated his liberty of speech. He stopped posting the apology after twenty-six days, but Judge Jon Separate determined Monday he had posted it long enough, and Byron was not locked up.

Byron asserted afterwards that he was relieved not to be in the slammer, "but I was prepared to go to protect my freedom of speech rights." Byron's lawyer, Becky Ford, expounded Monday that she has filed a notice of appeal in a state court. "We accept that by scripting and announcing what he had to post on Facebook, the court violated his rights to free speech," Ford related.

"The First modification not only protects the right to talk, and it protects your capability to remain silent." According to the ruling, Byron, 37, had posted comments on his page in Nov , exclaiming in part, "If you are bad vindictive lady who needs to mess up your other half's life and take your son's dad away from him absolutely all you've got to do is say you are frightened of your hubby or domestic partner and they will take him away." The Byrons have been concerned in continuing divorce and infant custody events. Byron has declared his better half and the court have forestalled him from seeing his young child many times. The court maintains he's permitted to see him on a twice-weekly basis. A June court order proscribed Byron from causing his other half physical or psychological abuse, aggravation or irritation. She asked in December that he be found in disregard after learning of the Facebook comments.

Domestic Relations Magistrate Paul Meyers in Jan found Byron in disregard of a protecting order due to his Facebook comments. He claimed Byron could avoid a 60-day jail sentence and a $500 fine by posting the apology authored by the magistrate to his spouse and all his Facebook buddies and paying her lawyer costs. The same apology needed to be posted each day not later than nine a.m.

The decision said one or two of Byron's comments were planned to "generate a negative and toxic reply towards her from his Facebook friends." Byron recounted Monday that, even though he did not go to jail, "this is an enormous deal" for many millions of folks using Facebook. "They could do this to anybody," he revealed. Freedom of speech and media professionals have announced the case should concern other users of the networking website. Cincinnati lawyer Jack Greiner, who makes a speciality of freedom of speech and media problems, said previously that animating speech thru a court-written apology raises as many freedom of speech concerns as prohibiting speech.

He revealed Monday the issue still causes concern but that he suspects Byron could have difficulty appealing since he posted the apology and failed to go to jail.

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