A 37-year-old father from Cincinnati will not be jailed after ceasing a court-ordered apology to his estranged wife that was occurring on a daily basis. According to reports, he was required to post the apology — written by the judge — to his Facebook page every day before 9 a.m. for a month. This allowed him to avoid a 60-day jail sentence and a $500 fine.
After posting the apology for 26 days, the man decided to stop. He and his wife were going through a divorce at the time the apology was ordered. According to records, the man had posted a message on his Facebook that allegedly insinuated that his life had been ruined and his child custody rights had been taken away from him after his wife told the courts that she was afraid of him.
This message was posted in November, approximately five months after the man had been prohibited from causing his wife any mental or physical abuse. A month after the message was posted, she asked that her soon-to-be ex-husband be held in contempt of court, which the judge agreed to.
That was when the man was offered the apology route, allowing it to replace the jail sentence and fine. After posting the message for the majority of the ordered month, the man believed that his freedom of speech was being violated.
The man was expected to go to jail after stopping, but the judge ruled that he had posted the message for long enough. If he had been sentenced to jail, the man and his attorney were prepared to defend his right to free speech.
The man is currently allowed to see his son on a twice-weekly basis, but the father alleges that has been prevented from doing so by both his wife and the court. This is a case that highlights the need for divorcing spouses to try and work together. This situation is likely not benefiting the child.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, “Ohio man not jailed for stopping Facebook apology,” Lisa Cornwell, Mar. 19, 2012