Family Law

Man's Facebook Rant Violated Protective Order; Judge Says He Can Post Apology or Go to Jail


Angry about a domestic relations court protective order that ordered him to stay away from his wife and affected his custody of his son, an Ohio man vented on his personal Facebook page.

That got Mark Byron in a lot more trouble, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

Ordered by a Hamilton County magistrate judge to post an apology on the page or go to jail for contempt, he felt he had no choice but to do so. Byron also must cover his wife’s legal fees for dealing with the Facebook issue.

Contending that the Facebook rant was private and that his wife sought out a message not addressed to her, Byron, his attorney and some observers question the judge’s right to tell him what to say on the Internet, arguing that it may violate an individual’s free-speech rights to do so.

“In a million years I didn’t think he’d be found in contempt,” said attorney Elizabeth “Becky” Ford, who represents Byron.

“He did nothing but vent. She didn’t like what he had to say. That’s what this boils down to.”

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