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Ranting about ex on Facebook violates restraining orders

  • Published at 03:59 pm July 26th, 2018
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A man landed in jail for bad mouthing his ex on Facebook

A US man landed in jail after he went on a Facebook rant about his ex-girlfriend who took out a restraining order against him. The court ruled that his rant violated the restraining order.

Unintended communication through social media could be a violation of restraining order and does not get the US First Amendment protection, Maine’s Supreme Court has ruled in the appeal case.

According to report by RT, Richard Heffron III, 39, of Maine, US, was convicted last year for violating a protection order arising from abuse. 

At the time when the threatening rants were posted, the female victim was no longer his Facebook friend and has blocked him from her page.

After Heffron’s posts popped up in the news feed of their shared Facebook friends, the ex-girlfriend reported it to the local police. The force then charged Heffron with violating the court-mandated restriction. 

Heffron was then convicted by a local court last year and was sentenced to three weeks in jail and one-year probation.

In Maine, just like in many other states in the US, a restraining order allows the protected person to ask for police intervention if the individual it targets tries to come near or communicate with them, reports RT.

He appealed the conviction on the grounds that his Facebook comments were free speech. Heffron argued that his social media posts did not constitute direct or indirect contact with the woman.

On Tuesday, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court rejected the appellant’s arguments. 

“The court correctly determined that Heffron’s communications with the protected person fell short of those that deserve constitutional protection,” Justice Jeffrey Hjelm said.