New York woman faces year in jail for tagging ex-sister-in-law on Facebook and calling her ‘stupid’

Maria Gonzalez violated an order of protection involving her former sister-in-law

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The Independent US

A New York woman faces a year in jail for violating a protection order by tagging her ex-sister-in-law in a Facebook post calling her “stupid”.

Maria Gonzalez is accused of contacting her former sister-in-law, Maribel Calderon, by tagging her in a post which reportedly read: “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.”

She has been charged with second-degree criminal contempt for the alleged post, and may face a year behind bars.

Ms Gonzalez had been prohibited from contacting Ms Calderon through a protection order, also known as a restraining order, following a divorce from her brother, Rafael Calderon.

Such orders usually state the person given the order must refrain from communicating with the protected party “by mail, telephone, e-mail, voice-mail or other electronic or other means”.

Ms Gonzalez’s attorney, Kim Frohlinger, argued that the protection order “did not specifically prohibit [her] from Facebook communication”, reports the New York Post.

But Westchester County Supreme Court Justice Susan Capeci disagreed, ruling that the defendant had been prohibited from contacting Ms Calderon “by electronic or any other means”.

“The 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’s Court of Appeals concluded in a 2014 case that Facebook messages are similar to email, and are therefore considered electronic communication.

Ms Frohlinger said her client would not appeal the ruling.