Is it legal? Florida mom jailed after Facebook post

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WFLA is investigating after a Facebook post landed a mother of three in jail. 

The incident stemmed from an ongoing family court case involving a child. 

Circuit Judge Lauralee Westine sentenced the woman, who was not a party to the case, to five months for violating court orders.

“It was just like… my whole life had crumbled,” said Jessie Weiner.

Weiner was taken into custody on April 2. She is set to be released in August. 

“I miss my family, you just kind of survive in here,” she said.

The trouble started with a post that showed up on Weiner’s Facebook page. 

In the post, sensitive family court documents concerning a child were released. The documents had to do with an ongoing family court case between Weiner’s husband and an ex. 

Even though Weiner was not a party to the case, the court took swift action.

“Next thing I know, I hear five months in the county jail,” said Weiner. “No matter what I said, I was guilty.”

Weiner was booked for criminal contempt. 

Westine explained her decision in court documents. 

On Nov. 6, the court had ordered that the sensitive documents be sealed. Those are the same documents that were posted on Weiner’s Facebook.

Weiner’s attorney Melissa Isaak is appealing the decision. Isaak said the court did not prove contempt beyond a reasonable doubt. Isaak believes the case against her client is built on assumptions of guilt. 

“A court can’t assume… that it knows who is posting on social media,” she said.

She also states the court never proved her client was on notice about the order. 

“A court can’t assume, especially that a non-party is aware of all the orders that were in a case,” she said.

WFLA reached out to a court spokesperson but they are unable to comment on pending litigation. 

Weiner’s husband had been held in contempt for previous incidents surrounding this case.  

Court records indicate that someone on Weiner’s Facebook even shared an old news article about when her husband was jailed over a Facebook post.

Isaak maintains her client’s due process rights were violated and that she did not have time to prepare an adequate defense. 

“Not only am I incarcerated but I no longer have a job,” said Weiner.

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