Woman Faces Year In Prison For Tagging Sister-In-Law On Facebook

| by Nik Bonopartis
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A New York woman's online trash talk may land her in jail for a year.

Maria Gonzalez was charged with second-degree criminal contempt, which carries a penalty of up to one year in jail, for allegedly tagging her sister-in-law in an insulting Facebook post, CNET reported.

Gonzalez was prohibited from contacting Maribel Calderon by an order of protection, but tagged her sister-in-law with the word "stupid" on the popular social media platform, adding, "You and your family are sad."

The bitterness between Gonzalez and Calderon was related to the former's divorce proceedings against Calderon' brother, according to the New York Post.

Gonzalez' attorney, Kim Frohlinger, asked Westchester County Supreme Court Justice Susan Capeci to dismiss the contempt charge, but the judge declined the request, pointing out that the order prohibits contact "by electronic or any other means."

Frohlinger said she would not appeal the ruling.

Divorce attorney Michael Stutman, who is not involved in the case, tells his clients, “Everything you post anywhere can possibly be used against you," echoing the familiar Miranda Rights that are read to arrestees in the U.S.

Whether or not Facebook communications can lead to contempt charges seems to depend on the judge. In a 2012 case, another New York judge ruled that a man did not violate an order of protection when he used his ex-wife's Facebook account to tell her friends and family members that she was allegedly keeping him from seeing his children.

"Changes in technology, including the way people communicate, continue to present unique challenges to the courts," the judge said in his decision, according to Patch.

In 2009, a Tennessee woman was arrested for directing a digital "poke" toward another woman on Facebook, ABC News reported. In that instance, as in the Gonzalez case, the woman allegedly violated an order of protection by contacting the other party through social media.

Sources: New York Post, CNET, ABC News, Patch / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons