Don’t get too friendly

A man in Florida was arrested for asking his estranged wife, who had a restraining order against him, to become his friend on Facebook:

According to a Pasco County Sheriff’s Office report, Harry Bruder, 54, admittedcontacting his wife twice last last month via the social networking site. Investigators charge that Bruder’s Facebook requests violated a domestic violence injunction obtained by his wife Carole, from whom he has been separated for two years.
“Yeah, I did it,” Bruder said when confronted by cops. He remarked that the friend requests were “stupid” and knew that he should not have sent them. Bruder, who also copped to changing the password to his wife’s Yahoo e-mail account, said that he was upset that he had to attend court-ordered counseling sessions as a result of the injunction (which bars him from any contact with his wife).

Via Jonathan R. Eaton. I’m not aware of a case like this in Canada, but I would tell my clients not to risk it.
Now, what if a person has a protection order against you, but then initiates contact through Facebook? I would advise you to delete the message and block that person, because responding may violate the order. When there’s any question about the wording of a court order, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.

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2 thoughts on “Don’t get too friendly

  1. “When there’s any question about the wording of a court order, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.”
    Just asking for a court order should be enough.
    Either you are crazy or they are.

  2. The Smoking Gun has a copy of the investigator’s report. http://www.thesmokinggun.com/file/facebook-friend-arrest
    Some observations:
    1. There are no children in common, so the protective order doesn’t appear to be related to a child custody/visitation battle.
    2. The more serious violation appears to be accessing the wife’s Yahoo mail account, deleting e-mails, and changing her password. The husband claims this is a tit-for-tat situation because the wife was changing his Yahoo account password on him. There’s no indication she was investigated in this regard, but the protective order is against him, not her.
    3. He’s angry about court-ordered counseling. Query: If he’s to have no contact then why order counseling as a part of the protective order?
    4. They’ve been separated for about two years and live in separate residences. There is no indication of a pending divorce.
    There may be legitimate reasons why these two are still married, but that’s the piece that’s a puzzle to me.

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