NJ Woman Banned From Writing About Family On Facebook
An appellate court has upheld a ruling banning a woman from posting on Facebook about her family. The woman had argued that the condition on her probation was vague (violating her Fourteenth Amendment rights), and violated her First Amendment rights of free speech.
Referred to in court documents only as H.L.M., the woman attempted to abduct her children after she lost custody of them in 2011. She was apprehended at the border, trying to bring them to Canada.
Her ensuing plea deal mandated that she receive therapy, but she was soon found to be defying this order, and posting “disturbing” messages about her family on social media. She was then ordered not to blog about her family, and given five years probation; state prosecutors argued this was necessary to protect her children in the future.
A psychiatric evaluation determined the mother had bipolar disorder.
But the woman began blogging about her family again, referring to them with the word “Camelot,” readily admitting this substitution to her parole officer.
The appellate decision found that the special condition of the woman’s probation was not vague, and actually very specifically prohibited just blogging about the family. The decision further found that not only does precedent establish that certain restrictions are acceptable under a probation order, but also that this order allowed the woman to blog about any other subject.
According to the LA Times, this decision will not be applicable to other cases.