“Civil rights matter,” Mark Byron of Cincinnati said yesterday after Judge Jon Sieve chose to chew him out but not jail him. The Cincinnati Enquirer said Byron, 37, was in court in a case that has drawn international attention because of a court order requiring him to post on his Facebook page an apology to his estranged wife, Elizabeth Byron, or go to jail. The apology was ordered by a magistrate who ruled that Mark Byron's Facebook posting – and the comments on it made by his Facebook friends – made his ex-wife concerned for her safety.
“I'm sure they didn't put me in jail (Monday) to keep it from getting bigger,” said Byron, who wore under his sports jacket a T-shirt that read “freespeech.” The case has been commented on around the globe – many, if not most, of the comments critical of the court-ordered apology – because of the free speech issues: a judge writing an apology and forcing Byron to post it on his Facebook page. Judge Jon Sieve saw it differently, saying Byron was using the case – and the media – for his benefit. “There is a certain monetary interest to be served in this media exploitation,” Sieve said. Byron and his estranged wife are going through a contentious divorce and custody fight over their toddler son.