Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Judge Says Use of MySpace May Violate a Court Order

"Judge Says Use of MySpace May Violate a Court Order" by Alan Feuer, was an article that I came across and found interesting. The article was publish in the New York Times on February 15, 2008 in Section B; Column 0; Metropolitan Desk; Pg. 2 or URL http://www.nytimes.com

In one of the first rulings of its kind, a Staten Island judge has said that a teenage girl could be charged with violating a restraining order by using MySpace.com to reach out to people she was told not to contact.

The girl, Melisa Fernino, 16, of West Brighton, Staten Island, was charged with three counts of criminal contempt in September after she was accused of sending a MySpace ''friend request'' to Sandra Delgrosso and her two daughters on Aug. 23. The order was put in place after Ms. Fernino made several violent threats against Ms. Delgrosso, who had dated her father, and against her two daughters, said a Staten Island official who insisted on anonymity because the case originated in Family Court, where proceedings are private.

Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr. of Staten Island Criminal Court turned down Ms. Fernino's request to dismiss the contempt charges, ruling that MySpace was a form of contact just like speaking in person or by telephone and that the order of restraint had barred any sort of contact with the Delgrossos. The judge's decision was reported on Thursday in The Staten Island Advance.

''The defendant should not be exculpated because she, instead of contacting her victims directly, used MySpace,'' Judge Sciarrino wrote.

According to the Staten Island district attorney's office and other prosecutors who specialize in cyber crimes, it was one of the first cases in which a judge in the United States had ruled that a restraining order had been violated by contact made through MySpace.

Joseph DeMarco, an adjunct professor at Columbia Law School and the former chief of the computer crimes unit at the United States attorney's office in Manhattan, said that as technology advances, judges will have to determine whether various forms of online contact violate restraining orders.

Ms. Fernino faces up to a year in prison if convicted on the contempt charges.

With this done and said class, be careful on who you threat in any social network since the law is starting to crack down on cyber crimes.

Have any of you guys come across any threats or have threaten others on any social network? If so please share your story by commenting on this blog.

By: Ari


Dianna S said...

I was watching Good Morning America yesterday morning and came upon this interview GMA had with Ashley Grill. Grill discussed her role in a MySpace scheme linked to a 13 year old girl's suicide name Megan Meier in 2006. Grill collaborated with Lori Drew and Drew's daughter (Megan's so-called friend) by creating a false MySpace profile of 'Josh Evans'. After Grill and the Drews realized the joke had gone far and Megan was really falling for 'Josh,' they started to become mean to Megan so that she would leave them alone. 'Josh' last messaged Megan: "the world would be a better place without you." That night, Megan committed suicide.

This is definitely an extreme and very sad example of how social media can be threatening to someone’s life.

Here’s a video of the interview:

Tommy Franco Jr. said...

I know of a friend who had actually placed a restrainging order on another female after being invovled in an altercation with this female. My friend had also placed a restraining order against the male in which the altercation was based off of. Several months later, the male and female with the restraining orders had created a MySpace account with pictures of my friend pretending as if the profile was hers in which it wasn't.
I then had to take my friend to the police station in order to file for a complaint since the restraining order seemed to be violated. We printed the MySpace profile in order to show the officer, but nothing could be done because it wasn't necessarily violating the restraining order. The only thing that was done was that the officer called the male and told him that if he didn't delete the profile that he would be arrested that night.
I'm not sure what the exact law is regarding the use of internet sources as a means of violating a restraining order, but in this particular case it could not be used. However, I believe that a social network should also be considered as a means for no contact in regards to a restraining order, especially today since it is being used more often than it has in the past.

- Tommy

Kate Serafini said...

Social Media sites are definitely an easy way to get into trouble. I know that I often get asked, on both Facebook and Myspace, to be friends with people who are much older than I am, or have extremely provocative pictures as their profile picture. Also, the cox cable man has tried to friend my roommates multiple times. His profile picture was inappropriate and had said many inappropriate things to them. They denied his friendship everytime, and even reported him. However, facebook has done nothing to stop him. Although we all love these social sites, they really are a lot more dangerous than I had originally though. I am very careful as to who I accept friendships from now.

Statens Island said...

I think the social media sites are obviously an easy way to get into trouble.... Sometime its helpful bot every time it is very dangerous.........