In 2011, a Superior Judge ordered a New Jersey woman to stop posting about her ex-husband and children on Facebook after she attempted to kidnap her two children and take them to Canada. However, the mother continued to write about her family using the code word “Camelot” in 2012, posting disturbing content that referenced the Book of Revelations, Adolph Hitler, Satan and more. A judge found that these posts violated the terms of her probation, and the woman appealed. The final ruling came from an appeals court this week, which found that it was not unconstitutional for the judge to ban her from posting about her family.
A psychiatrist who examined the woman during the appeals process found that she was not a danger to herself or others, but the judge still upheld the ruling that prevented the mother from posting about her family on Facebook, saying that: “You can talk about what you want to talk about, but don’t reference (your husband) or the children. That’s off limits.” In her appeal, the woman said that her 14th Amendment rights had been violated, and that the order from the judge was not specific enough. However, the appeals court found that to be without merit.
Free speech is an increasingly tricky subject to navigate on social media. Many people think that whatever they say or write is protected under the law, though as this case illustrates, that isn’t always true.