Facebook Tagging Violates Order of Protection

On January 21, 2016, in Criminal, by Robbie L. Vaughn, Esq.


Tagging Someone on Facebook Violates Existing Order of Protection

At least according to Acting Westchester County Supreme Court Justice Susan Capeci.

People v. Gonzalez, 6081M/15.

Gonzalez allegedly tagged her victim in Facebook posts.  She allegedly wrote “Stupid” and “You and your family are sad … You guys have to come stronger than that!! I’m way over you guys but I guess not in ya agenda.”  The victim said she received a notification from Facebook that she had been tagged in statements made by the defendant.

Gonzalez argued that the protection order did not specifically ban her from making contact with the victim via Facebook and moved to dismiss her second-degree criminal contempt charge. Justice Capeci found that the order prohibited Gonzalez from contacting the victim by “electronic or any other means” and denied her motion to dismiss the charges.  She cited a 2014 decision by the NY Court of Appeals, People v. Horton, 24 NY3d 985, in which the court found that Facebook messages are essentially email. Justice Capeci went on to state that “[t]he allegations that she contacted the victim by tagging her in a Facebook posting which the victim was notified of is thus sufficient for pleading purposes to establish a violation of the order of protection.”

New York Penal Law § 215.50 – Criminal Contempt in the Second Degree. Second Degree Criminal Contempt is a class “A” misdemeanor.

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