Molinaro: Domestic Violence; Restraining Orders; Freedom of Speech; Prior Restraint

In re Marriage of Molinaro (Domestic Violence; Restraining Orders; Freedom of Speech; Prior Restraint)

California Court of Appeal, Second District

Published Opinion, (2019) 33 Cal.App.5th 824

File Date:
Filed 3-28-2019

The wife filed an application for domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) against her husband under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, Family Code (DVPA) per Family Code section 6200 et seq. The family court granted the DVRO and ordered the husband not to post anything on Facebook about the divorce case. The appellate court reversed the social media gag order as an invalid prior restraint on free speech. The order not to post “anything about the case on Facebook” was overbroad and an impermissible infringement of his free speech rights.

“ ‘It is certainly in the best interests of any children of divorce that the adults in their lives act in a mature and courteous manner’ [citation]; however, where restraint on the freedom of speech is concerned, the restriction must be necessary and narrowly tailored to promoting those interests. The part of the restraining order prohibiting [the husband] from posting about the case on Facebook does not meet this test. We conclude it is overbroad, constituting an invalid prior restraint, and must be stricken from the domestic violence restraining order.”

Molinaro 3-28-19

The case listed here was not handled by Walzer Melcher unless the description states that Walzer Melcher appeared as counsel.