An appeals court in New Jersey upheld an earlier court order banning a woman from writing about her husband and children on Facebook and elsewhere, saying the limitation does not infringe upon her First Amendment rights, according to NJ.com.
The woman, identified only as H.L.M., had previously been ordered to stop her writing as a condition of her probation stemming from a plea bargain for kidnapping her children after losing a custody battle for them.
In 2011, H.L.M. abducted her two young children and was caught trying to take them over the Canadian border after authorities issued a missing persons alert. As part of a deal to drop charges of kidnapping, she was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and receive therapy.
In December 2011, a judge learned that she was not receiving therapy and had posted “clearly disturbing” online writings, including references to the Book of Revelations, Jeffrey Dahmer, Satan, and Adolph Hitler, with a judge calling her writing “rambling, irrational, disturbing, bizarre.”
A psychiatric evaluation was performed showing that H.L.M. suffers from bipolar disorder, but that she was not considered a danger to herself or others.
The state requested that she be banned from blogging about her ex-husband and children out of concern that her children would someday read it.
The judge agreed with the ban, ordered her to have no contact with her children, and gave her five years probation, writing: “Any blogging shall not reference the husband or the children. You can talk about what you want to talk about, but don’t reference the husband or the children. That’s off limits.”
H.L.M. continued to write about her family, referring to them as ‘Camelot,’ as she appealed the restriction on her writing, claiming that it was overly vague and restricted her First Amendment liberties.
The appeals court dismissed her appeal, stating that the decision did not restrict her from writing about anything other than her family, and was done in the interest of protecting her children.
[Stressed woman on Shutterstock]