Sentencing/Post Conviction

'Outrageous' Facebook post could send paroled man back to prison

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An Ohio man released from prison last month after serving a term for vehicular homicide has had his probation revoked because of something he posted on Facebook, the Associated Press and FOX 8 report.

Ryan C. Fye, 22, served seven months of a three-year sentence after pleading guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and vehicular assault. Fye was driving 60 mph in a 20 mph zone when he lost control of his car and hit a tree in March 2013, and one of his four passengers died in the crash. Fye, who lives in Lorain, was released in December.

Then he posted this on Facebook, accompanied by a photo of himself holding up his middle fingers: “Prison didnt break me. It MADE me. Im free. Im a new man. Dont come at me like before. Yes im skinny and muscular now. 7 months of working out everyday. Love my real friends an fam. Shout outs to my fam behind bars. Ill see ya when youre time is near! Miss you brothers!”

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Richard McMonagle ruled that the post was disrespectful toward the family of the 22-year-old man who died and violated the community control sanctions of Fye’s parole.

Frye faces a hearing Jan. 15, and he could end up serving all of the three-year sentence. The Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria reports that Fye’s defense attorney Michael Stepanik has asked Judge McMonagle (who retired at the end of 2014) to reconsider his order.

According to Stepanik, Fye’s post was made not to distress the family of the deceased man, but in response to abusive messages sent to Fye by other Facebook users.

“This court has ex post facto made a condition of his probation that Fye should permit individuals who are threatening him to continue to do so and not respond in any way to threats on his safety,” Stepanik wrote in a court filing, according to the Chronicle-Telegram.

He contended that calling Fye’s actions “‘outrageous’ is insufficient to constitute a probation violation.”

Stepanik also challenged the judge’s reliance on the community control provision, saying that it applied only to Fye’s conduct in court and towards his parole officers and therefore should not have been used to revoke Fye’s probation.

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