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Does Calif consider this cyber-stalking? Do I have to testify? What would the court do to defendant?

San Francisco, CA |

He sent several very nasty, mean-spirited emails over several days. Profanity, insults etc - long tirades. They were meant to cause emotional pain & hurt my feelings. He also said he was going to file a lawsuit against me, even sent me a copy of the blank form he was going to file out. I knew he had no cause but I wouldn't be surprised if he did, just for nuisance and spite. I live far away so the cost of a flight and hotel, plus time off work to defend myself is anxiety provoking enough. I'm pretty sure his goal was to puff himself up a being powerful and cause me anxiety. I did check the courthouse website every few days to make sure. He never did file....(continued...)

1. Is this cyber-stalking? 2. I live 3,000 miles away. Can a case be pursued w/ just me forwarded his emails to the SF police and not my having to actually fly to the west coast? 3. Would the court even do anything about this? 4. He is a relative. The relationship became very toxic over the years due to his intense anger problems. He has an arrest history for violence. I also suspect he has psychiatrist issues. 5. My husband (his brother) had severe problems with not being able to sleep, shaking after reading the emails, and not being able to concentrate at work due to worry/stress. He pretty much "drank the koolaid" and believed everything was going to happen.

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Attorney answers 3


It's likely not cyberstalking, but you should have an attorney send him a cease and desist letter. That might get his attention to leave you alone. Block his numbers and email accounts.

We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I have made do not constitute legal advice. Any statements I have made are based upon the very limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in California.



We changed our landline and cell phone numbers to unlisted. Hubby's email provider doesn't allow for blocking.


If you can, you and your husband should cut off all forms of communication with him.

The above response is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should NOT be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney. You should seek the advice of competent counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.


No. Under California Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, such ranting and raving is arguably protected speech as part of one's First Amendment Right to Petition. Were you to sue your relative for such e-mails, you might be met with an "Anti-SLAPP" motion filed by counsel for your relative, which if granted, could subject you to significant legal fees. The First Amendment protects such speech, as crazy as this may sound, further under the Litigation Privileges which is codified at Civil Code section 47 (it may be CCP section 47). Be careful about stirring up the pot on this. Mr. Harris' advice to cut off all contact is wise indeed, regardless of the legal reasons I state above.