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Is on-line threats/harrassment and Facebook bashing a crime?

West Palm Beach, FL |

I ended a relationship back in Feb, but this woman who lives in Ventura, CA has kept on with harrassing/threatening emails and nasty phone calls. Every time I block her email, she creates a new one and has bashed me on Facebook as well. I have kept every email and from her.
Do I have any legal rights? If so, what can be done to keep her away from me?

I forgot to mention that I live in West Palm Beach.

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

There is a difference between threatening and nasty. Communcations to you alone only become a crime if physical harm is threatened. Where things are made public, then defemation might apply. To find out, you should go over the details with an attorney in your locale. DO NOT respond or make any online or telephone communications. "Bashing" is not a crime or a tort, but defamation is. See can attorney, who can analyze the case. Make copies now of the posts, in case they are deleted. You can control your Facebook site, and close it in to only friends.

We do not have a client/attorney relationship until you make an appointment, we discuss your case face to face, I accept a retainer, and we explictly agree to enter into representation.

Asker

Posted

thanks for you insight! No physical harm has been threatened, but threats of her coming to FL have been mentioned, along with threats of posting rude comments about me on her FB page. I have contacted and waiting for several attorneys in my area to reply. I used the wrong term in "bashing", it's more of a defamation. As for the emails, what is considered a crime? Thanks again

Barry Franklin Poulson

Barry Franklin Poulson

Posted

The email lacks the public nature of defamation, the "publication." So the threat has to be pretty strong, pretty credible. Best to never again answer, but keep printouts, as you were advised.

Asker

Posted

Thanks again Barry, But, What can I do stop her if she keeps her threat to come to Florida? I received 5 emails last night/this morning saying she wants to come here to spend initmate times with me

Barry Franklin Poulson

Barry Franklin Poulson

Posted

- NEVER respond to her email. - BLOCK her email. - IF she shows up at your door, ask her to leave, not to return, and if she returns, warn her that you will call the police and charge trespass. - If she returns, call 911, and seek assistance from counsel in a restraining order. And, as adivised by atty Cornish and Chapman, you could file an action. To me, perhaps the "total ignore" would be the best first step.

Asker

Posted

Thank you again. I haven't responded to any emails. Even though I've blocked her email addresses, she creates new ones to threaten to visit me and some with sexual content Even though I'm worried about her showing up on my door step, I am really worried because I have a young teen daughter who is with me every other weekend, and a few days during the week as well. I don't want anything happening when my daughter is over.

Asker

Posted

Now she is threatening to hurt my daughter.

Barry Franklin Poulson

Barry Franklin Poulson

Posted

IF she is threatening physical hard, then you have enough to go to the police AND to get a restraining order. Read carefully the reponses here from my colleagues, but I suggest you first contact an attorney in your locale. Your attorney can assess the situation from the emails, etc., and determine which remedies are most appropriate. I think things have grown to the level where assistance of counsel is indicated.

Posted

Sage advice from Barry on how to make sure you are preserving the evidence and getting accurate advice from counsel in your area.

I would add that you should understand that the threat of physical harm assessment can be very complicated, including issues of imminent threat of harm, known identity of person 'bashing'.

Defamation is much more subject to issues of opinion versus assertion of truth. Though, in 'bashing', most people seem to assert something false as truth, in my experience, yet they think they are voicing their opinion, thereby subjecting themselves to liability.

The recommendations in this answer are not considered legal advice for the purposes of ethical, legal and practical evaluation, nor does this recommendation create a retention of counsel agreement between us, wherein an attorney-client relationship exists. These recommendations should never be relied upon without first consulting an attorney in your jurisdiction. I am not your attorney, unless we enter into a written agreement fulfilling the terms of that agreement. The comments posted herein are purely for educational purposes and public discourse only.

Asker

Posted

Thanks for your advice. What can I do stop her if she keeps her threat to come to Florida? I received 5 emails last night/this morning saying she wants to come here to spend initmate times with me.

Asker

Posted

Even though I've blocked many of her emails, she creates new ones and the recent email has her threatening my young teen daughter.

Scott E. Chapman

Scott E. Chapman

Posted

The threats of visiting give you a basis for a temporary restratining order. Depending on your jurisdiction, you can include online and email activity. You need to get at attorney asap. Get a TRO and let you know you are not messing around. As long as you have positive identity and you don't need a PI, you will likely have an easier time. Good Luck!!

Posted

You possibly have 2 different ways to combat this situation. First, it will be difficult to prove threats but she can argue her language was only inflammatory and not indicative of her behavior. Police have difficulties preventing/rooting out crime before it happens but are much more reactionary. The better tactic would be to consult an attorney about pursuing a defamation/libel claim against her because her behavior seems to violate these rules.

Answers to this question are for general purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship or constitute legal advice

Asker

Posted

Thanks for your advice. What can I do stop her if she keeps her threat to come to Florida? I received 5 emails last night/this morning saying she wants to come here to spend initmate times with me

Asker

Posted

Even though I've blocked many of her emails, she creates new ones and the recent email has her threatening my young teen daughter.

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