Thursday, January 8, 2015

Bragging Facebook post ("Prison didn't break me. It MADE me") lands Ohio parolee back behind bars after early release ~ Call Michael A. Haber, Esq. **ARRESTED

Meet Ryan Fye (pictured below) a 22 y/o Ohio resident who was early released on parole in May, 2014 after having served a 3 year prison sentence for a non-alcohol but reckless driving fueled accident which claimed the life of one of his passengers.  

The deceased, 22 y/o William Fekete, is pictured below.

On December 9th, 2014 Ryan posted a message on Facebook, accompanied by a picture (seen below) of him giving his "haters" a double-birdie which reads as follows:  "Prison didnt break me. It MADE made. Im free. Im a new man. Don't come at me like before. Yes im skinny and muscular now. 7 months of working out everyday. Love my real friends an fam. Shout outs to my fam behind bars. Ill see ya when youre time is near! Miss you brothers!"

The family of the deceased took this post personally, finding it upsetting, and caused the matter to be brought to the attention of Ryan's sentencing Judge, Cuyohoga County Common Pleas Judge Richard McMonagle, who, in turn, found it "so disrespectful to the family that it was violative of the sanctions [early release parole] imposed upon Fye".  Accordingly, the Judge revoked Fye's parole and has now effectively acted to return Ryan to prison.  

Like Ryan Fye's defense lawyer, Michael Stepanik, I am going to call BS on this....

I am not an Ohio lawyer and I cannot comment on matters of Ohio law or procedure but, as a veteran Florida criminal defense lawyer of 23+ years I know something about nature of conditions of release (whether pre-trial / bail, appellate bond, probation, community control / house arrest or parole) as well as the due process requirements for amendment or revocation of such a government grant.  

The Facebook post was foolish and insensitive but it was not illegal.  Distasteful as it may be, it remains protected speech under the 1st Amendment, and as a probationer, community controlee or parolee, while your 4th Amendment rights are essentially suspended while you are being supervised (that is part of the "contract" that a supervisee enters into with the government so as to remain out of custody) your 1st Amendment right (at least in regard to free speech) remains intact.  Getting rearrested, failure to report, failing to observe geographic or time imposed boundaries, possessing or using firearms or controlled substances, associating with people engaged in criminality.... these (and others) are reasonable conditions of release, the "willful and substantial" violation thereof (that is the Florida standard for a probation / community control violation) can result in both revocation and reincarceration.  In this case Ryan was accused of violating a rule of his release which deals with how he conducts himself "in court and with probation officers".  On its face, while offensive there is simply no nexus between the social media statement and the rule.  This is an unreasonable stretch that an appeals court should correct.

If, standing alone this were not enough, the position that Judge McMonagle's ruling was douche-baggerous is even more defensible as, factually, Fye's lawyer pointed out that Ryan's inconsiderate post was made in response to a threat the he received on Facebook by someone who stated that they "couldn't wait to bump into' him and that prison ought to have made him tough".  Further, it was shown that prior to Court Fye had deleted his controversial post and instead published the following lengthy message explaining himself:  "Its directed towards all the Fake friends i had and have, all the people trying to snoop and talk s*** about me like im some sort of monster. It has NOTHING to do with my case what so ever nor the parties involved in my case. Its a simple gesture to those who hate me, those who always called me fat, the ones who dawned on me, and of course me saying "f*** prison" cause prison isnt something i would wish upon my biggest enemy. Dont judge a book by its cover unless you plan on reading the whole book. Have a good day everyone!".

Memo to Ryan:  Mellow out.  They were just words and you were not compelled to reply.  There is a little thing called "impulse control".  Google it.  You may also want to get some therapy to assist you in coping with life in the real world, especially while under supervision.  Parole, in Florida anyhow, is not a "right".  It is an "act of grace of the State", and I suspect that Ohio views the matter in a similar light.  Tread carefully, do the right thing and you might just enjoy the rest of your young life.

Memo to Judge McMonagle:  You are the Douche Bag of the day.

Memo to the Folks:  Once again, this is another excellent example of why you should always be aware - think before - of what you post on social media.  Once disseminated that cat is not going back in its bag.

For more than 23 years Michael A. Haber, P.A. has been providing creative, effective and zealous advocacy and counsel in cases ranging from DUI to drug trafficking and from misdemeanors to first degree murder.  

At Michael A. Haber, P.A. "Its all about reasonable doubt"!

Michael A. Haber, Esq. is prepared to speak with you about your case!


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