Judge’s Jail-or-Facebook Apology Order Troubles Free Speech Experts


Cincinnati photographer Mark Byron was so bothered by his pending divorce and child visitation issues that he blasted his soon-to-be ex-wife on his personal Facebook page, says the Cincinnati Enquirer. That touched off a battle that resulted in a judge ordering Byron jailed for his Facebook rant and to post on his page an apology to his wife and all of his Facebook friends or go to jail, something free speech experts found troubling.

“The idea that a court can say 'I order you not to post something or to post something' seems to me to be a First Amendment issue,” Enquirer attorney and free-speech expert Jack Greiner said. Hanni Fakhoury of the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the rulings are unique and “raise quite a few” free speech issues. Mark and Elizabeth Byron had a son in 2010, but their marriage soon became troubled. She accused him of verbally abusing her, threatening her with his fist, and threatening to “end” her life.

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