C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


A very scary thought...


I wouldn't ever want someone forcing me to post anything on my blog or other social media accounts... Reading this made me realize just how much I enjoy having the freedom to speak. If the court said delete it I'd go Okay. If the court said write your own apology I'd say Okay.

Putting words in someone's mouth to write the apology for them or go to jail if you don't publish someone else's apology on your behalf that gives up your personal court business during a custody battle - what a very scary thought...

It opens the door to a whole bunch of monkey business by litigants... The HE SAID SHE SAID during a marriage never ends. Everyone has an opinion, even their stupid opinion... I think I've vented enough in cyberspace to understand how horrific this really is on a personal and professional level. 

Just saying yall might want to pay attention to what you guys are posting on Facebook. Never know if a stray comment is going to come back and bite you in the a$$ after falling out with someone...

Pssst... Realtors, this also means you and how some of you trash your competitors/clients. A few of you are so busy trying to boost your "follow me" numbers you have no idea who your subscribers really are and what they're doing lurking on your social media pages. My girlfriend got dragged to another state to give a deposition for having a conversation with a relative that the soon to be ex-wife didn't like. Cost her a substantial amount of money to comply with the court order because she needed to hire her own attorney, travel, lodge, then get back to New York City.

I bet my gal pal would not have enjoyed having a court order shoved down her throat regarding forcibly apologizing on Facebook for having the nerve to comment on a negative experience for anything personal. 

Neither would I...



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Comment balloon 6 commentsC Tann-Starr • February 24 2012 05:42AM


Wow that is a scary thought.  Some of the comments I see on FB and even here scare me to no end.  Who do thise people think they are to be so nasty?  You have always gotten more with sweetness...Thanks for posting!

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Very true. We need to always be aware of what we post and who is reading it. Over the long haul what we post tells the world a lot about us.

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) almost 9 years ago

This is a hard call.  Yes first amendment rights are huge, but so are the rights to personal safety.  His intention to demean and alienate her from others was clear.  This is always the mark of an abuser. So the judge gave him a choice.  He didn't have to post the apology. He could have taken the jail time instead.  It was his decision to post the nasty comment in the first place. Hard call.

Posted by Leslie G. Rojohn, GRI, ABR ~ MoonDancer Realty (MoonDancer Realty) almost 9 years ago

Evelyn, scary indeed. Defamation occurs when a person makes a statement about another that damages their reputation. Libel is defaming somebody in writing. Slander is spoken defamation. I see a lot of that going around on the Internet and sometimes I'd just rather read and lurk... This case is complicated and there's a lot we don't know about it but what we do know is that an apology crafted by a judge for a litigant with a use it on Facebook or go to jail alternative is quite unsettling. Makes a lot of people very nervous in my virtual circles...

Gary, I second that.

Leslie, I'm not defending him, I'm defending the right to have an opinion whether it be good, bad or ugly. The circumstances doesn't give us an excuse to play situational ethics. We don't like what he is reported to have done so we silently say screw him? Wasn't us? Not our problem? We're just a bunch of bloggers who did not allegedly abuse anyone?

Either we have a first amendment right to freely express ourselves or we don't.

Yes, they are consequences to what we do with that free speech (Defamation, Libel, Slander, etc) but he blocked his wife on Facebook and wasn't talking directly to her. He didn't have direct contact when he made that statement expressing bitterness. It never says who told the wife, only that she was made aware of it.

If Realtor X were bitter over a client screwing him/her over would he/she want to go to jail for expressing dissatisfaction regarding an unfortunate turn of events? Unplug domestic violence and plug in the situation of your choice regarding a business tort that leads to civil litigation. See my point? Client files are confidential and some clients may not want to be generically or specifically described on a blog/social media account no matter what. What if X Realtor only has four clients for the month of February and all four of them think the Realtor X is specifically talking about them on Facebook then sue? The litigation will force the Realtor to give up all sorts of info to defend against the hypothetical suit. Would you want all of your e-mails pulled directly off the server while the complainant's attorney fished for electronic evidence to build his or her case, not to mention all of your social media accounts being replicated to examination? 

Litigation opens the door to court orders and court orders open the doors to almost everything...


Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 9 years ago

Hi C - I'm not as concerned about the apology thing as I am the finding that he was guilty. His posting on FB doesn't seem anything like a prohibited class of speech under the first amendment, whether she had access to it or not. He was voicing an opinion, and I don't believe it's right to interpret that as violating the court's protection order. I can honestly claim that I am suffering "mental annoyance" every day from the political environment - I can name names and cite instances - and whether it's aimed at me or not, I am aware of it. And while it's true that the candidates aren't operating under a protection order (they ought to be), they have the right to say what they want, according to the first amendment, and so do I and so does the guy in this case, whether or not he's a despicable slimebag. We're exposed to offensive, hateful stupid words every day, because that's the price of individual freedom, and having an internet doesn't change that.

Posted by Dick Greenberg, Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate (New Paradigm Partners LLC) almost 9 years ago

Dick, it's amazing how technology stays so far ahead of the law. We're having a spirited debate right now generated from a Facebook law enforcement group about an interesting PDF regarding GPS tracking, privacy and the workplace. http://epic.org/privacy/workplace/gps-traking.pdf Between freedom of speech and the right to freely assemble I'm not sure which FB conversation I'm having that has my virtual knickers tied in the most annoying knot (LOL).

My goal isn't to say anything bad about the judge, the husband or the wife. I don't want people bad mouthing any of these people.

My goal is to bring attention to a very interesting case of where the slippery FB/social media slope may lead when litigation spills over into virtual life in unimaginable ways that have larger unintended consequences. If one unplugs domestic violence and plugs in DWI would anyone want a judge to say that part of X's conviction is X has to post on Facebook X was convicted of a DWI and apologize to the community for the property damage of hitting a tree?

Unplug DWI and plug in bounced checks (which can be a crime depending upon the amount which bounced - it varies from state to state). I look at it more as a formula for what can be done with a court ordered written apology that specifies including mistakes/convictions at a low point during a persons life now be part of a social media shunning/shaming/advertisement. People convicted, who pay a fine and/or serve time have repaid their debt to society according to the social mores of the laws. Are we now going to create a new virtual class of social media punishment that may create a new type of cruel and unusual punishment? Even bankruptcy drops off a TRW at some point. Social media gets archived and passed around in the most imaginative ways... Things in cyberspace never really go away. The moment someone makes a download or screen shot it's out of the server's hands and can't be pulled from private computers, smart phones, etc...

This guy (a lawyer) didn't expect his love life to stop from having XYZ or create professional issues. His multiple ex-girlfriends had no way of knowing how far their opinions/dissatisfied comments regarding their former private lives unleashed in social media could negatively impact his professional life: http://abovethelaw.com/gloria-allred

Emotionally charged rhetoric is not want I want to see on my blog about this situation so I am hoping people stop to think about how this can negatively impact everyone down the road. Don't focus on the conviction to color for or against anyone, focus on the concept of having a court order dictate you lose your freedom if you do not publish the crafted apology the judge says you are narrowly and specifically required to say. When broken down into its simplest form that's what alarms me the most about this situation. I myself would want to be given the chance to say I'm sorry in my own words... I would hope a judge would at least decide to hear them from my own lips and rule whether it was adequate/sincere enough instead of writing something which would forever affect me personally or professionally. No one wants to go to jail and the threat of jail would place me under duress. It's a scary place. I know. I'm a retired NYC Correction Officer and worked the last 15.75 years with maximum security male inmates on Riker's Island.

People who know me would wonder if I were really sorry or afraid of incarceration. People who didn't know me would forever judge me in a negative light. I'm putting myself in the husband's shoes because we're all quite easily supporting the wife but we need to focus on his right to express himself on his page to his friends about how he feels regarding an emotionally charged and explosive situation. His family life is being destroyed. He has the right to show some grief over it... Grief frequently includes emotionally charged rhetoric...   



Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 9 years ago

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