In a split decision, the Third District Court of Appeals recently upheld a lower court's issuance of civil protection order that protected the Petitioners by prohibiting the Respondent from making any comments about the Petitioners on social media. The case of Bey v. Rasawehr presents a relatively new development in the law as it focuses on the interplay between First Amendment protections, concerns for victim safety in stalking related cases, and the pervasiveness of social media. While the majority of the Court upheld the lower court's order restricting Respondents free speech, the dissent sought to overturn the lower court's order because it prohibited any type of commentary on social media regarding the protected persons. In a 4 to 3 decision, the Ohio Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction of the case, appealed by the Respondent after the unfavorable decision from the Appellate Court. Oral arguments were heard on February 11, 2020 and a decision from the Ohio Supreme Court is expected within the next few months.
Clermont County Commissioner David Uible recently filed a restraining order against a person who has challenged him publicly. Uible filed the protection order because he wanted to quiet one of his most public critics; not because he was threatened with violence. The case has received significant publicity because Uible is a high profile person. First amendment advocacy groups have cried foul and media outlets are questioning the veracity of Uible's request. Unfortunately the misuse of civil protection orders is all too common. Few people, however, take notice when a high profile person is not involved.