Guiffrida v. Glick, DA 16-0569 (Montana S. Ct.) June 6, 2017

A Montana county court entered a protective order prohibiting Glick from harassing, intimidating or threatening his former girlfriend.  Glick appealed.

The Supreme Court of Montana denied that the errors asserted by Glick were substantial. Glick’s assertion that the trial court was without substantial evidence was not in error. The court had before it Glick’s blog post accusing Guiffrida of murder and threatening to make revelations about her.

The court declined to place Glick outside the reach of the communications act, holding that communications to a particular person was not necessary.  Hands off, non-directed blog posts satisfy the cyberbullying statute’s “transmissions between persons”  standard. As any reader of the blog — including Giuffrida — would receive the post, the “transfer between persons” portion of the statute would be met.

Neither were Glick’s federal or state speech rights impaired by the protective order, the court noted, as in a private matter, constitutional protections are less rigorous.  Content, form and context, as revealed by the entire record, determine whether a matter is public or private.

“Free speech” does not include provoking emotional distress through harassment or intimidation.  The full record discloses that the issues between Glick and Guiffrida were private and less worthy of protection.  The posts were more than speech and became stalking.

Guiffrida v. Glick, 2017 MT 136N (Mont., 2017)

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