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Cyberstalking, as defined by statute 784.048, is the deliberate use of electronic medium channels to interact with the other party in offensive words, language, or images. (Beane 213). The messages have no legitimate purpose and may be sexual, threatening, or simply harassing to the receiver.
The legal dispute involving Cheryl and her spouse Michael is known as Young v. Young. Cheryl attempted to appeal a ruling by the Florida legal system that labeled her actions as domestic abuse. Michael had given Cheryl his email password so that she could install a multiuser antivirus (Cheryl Young v. Michael Young). Instead, Cheryl went ahead to read her husband’s emails and even changed the password. With the information that Cheryl got from her husband’s email, she filed for a divorce. The trial judge however noted her offence and issued her an injunction for domestic violence.
Do Cheryl’s actions constitute domestic violence or cyber stalking?
The appellate court reviewed the case and determined that cherry was not guilty of domestic violence. Cheryl did not indeed engage in activities that are emotionally or physically harmful to her partner (Cheryl Young v. Michael Young). The court also held that Cheryl’s actions cannot amount to cyber stalking because those were not her words and they were also not offensive to the other party. The trial’s court decision was hence reversed.
Why the 1st DCA made the Decision
The 1st DCA indeed mentioned that although Cheryl was guilty of an offence, it did not constitute domestic violence or cyber stalking. The court decided that for Cheryl conduct to pass as domestic violence, she must have at least made some violent threats to the husband which was never the case (Cheryl Young v. Michael Young). She did not threaten or stalk Michael but she inappropriately used it. Lastly, there was no evidence indicating that she was indeed responsible for the incidence that she was accused of.
Beane, Allan L. Bullying Prevention for Schools: A Step-by-Step Guide to Implementing a Successful Anti-Bullying Program. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass, 2009.
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. Cheryl Young v. Michael Young, 96 So.3d 478 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012). 11 Sept. 2012. https://www.leagle.com/decision/inflco20120911179
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