Carl M. Perry had an order of protection against him. This order of protection from the Family Court in Monroe County indicated he was to have no contact with his wife. It further ordered, he was to stay away from his wife.
During the period of the order of protection, Carl gained access to his wife’s Facebook account. He sent out letters to friends and family on his wife’s friends and family list. In these letters he complained that his wife was using the parties children against him. He further indicated that she was preventing him from seeing or communicating with his children. Mr. Perry was charged with criminal contempt for violating the order of protection that barred him from having contact with his wife.
Justice DiSalvo, sitting in the Webster Town court, dismissed the criminal charges against him. The Justice stated in his decision “changes in technology, including the way people communicate, continue to present unique challenges to the courts. As of the date (April 7th) of this decision there were no reported cases of people charged with violating an order of protection for accessing Facebook. One must look for cases where defendants are charged for indirectly contact a protected person by making statements to others.” The court further held, that there was nothing in the order of protection that prevented him from accessing the Facebook account.
The court held that by communicating with individuals through Facebook he was not either directly or indirectly trying to contact Ms. Perry. The court further stated, the order of protection did not prevent the defendant from having contact with individuals that happen to be listed on Ms. Perry’s Facebook account. It also did not prevent him from having contact with family, friends or acquaintances.
This is a win for Facebook. If you have an order of protection against you can still communicate with third parties through Facebook provided the order of protection doesn’t specifically mention no contact through Facebook accounts.