Mom Banned From Ranting About Kids on Facebook

Appeals court finds the ban is constitutional

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted May 19, 2014 10:21 AM CDT

(Newser) – Lots of people go on Facebook to blow off steam—but one New Jersey mom took things too far, and has now been banned from using the social network to rant about her ex-husband and kids. The trouble began when the Flemington mother, identified in court records only by her initials, HLM, was arrested in 2011 after attempting to take her children to Canada after losing custody of them. She pleaded guilty to a lesser charge to avoid a kidnapping charge, and was sentenced to probation, a condition of which was that she not mention her kids or ex on Facebook or her blog, the Courier News reports.

But the mom, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, kept right on ranting—her postings involved the Biblical book of Revelation, Jeffrey Dahmer, Satan, and Adolf Hitler; the judge called them "rambling, irrational, disturbing, bizarre," the Star-Ledger reports. In 2012, she started using a code word ("Camelot") to talk about her family and the judge found that she had violated her probation; she appealed, arguing that the ban violated her rights to free speech and due process. But a state appeals court last week said that since the ban is specific and does not impose upon her blogging or posting about other issues, it is not unconstitutional.

In this May 16, 2012 file photo, a Facebook logo is displayed on the screen of an iPad in New York.
In this May 16, 2012 file photo, a Facebook logo is displayed on the screen of an iPad in New York.   (AP Photo/James H. Collins, File)
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