PORT HURON, Mich. (WXYZ) — Right now a St. Clair County dad is locked in jail for posting about an ugly and intense custody battle on Facebook. His family is calling for action, saying the court is violating his right to free speech.
“Who gets to tell somebody what they can and can’t talk about? And then if they don’t like it, they will put you in jail?” said Jamie Murray, Kevin Lindke’s Mom.
Lindke’s bond for violating the order of the PPO to not post about the person who requested it is $30,000 cash. Lindke has a lengthy criminal history, but his mom says this time all he did was share his opinion on Facebook.
His attorney Chris Nesi says he believes the court is violating his client’s first amendment rights with the personal protection orders.
“They are meant to protect people from being physically harmed or defamed, so when you expand the tools you are using to include potential deprivation of liberty, you have to be very cautious,” said Nesi.
So what is this about? To summarize a complex case, Lindke and his ex are in an ugly custody battle. According to court documents he wanted the court to order his ex to make sure his daughter has no interactions with a man with a decades old sex offense on his record. The court did not make an order to his satisfaction, although there was an investigation. Family members say they created a Facebook page to raise awareness.
“He is fighting for his daughter and that is what a dad does,” said Jamie Murray. “There is no dad that I know that would just sit back and do nothing in this situation.”
People reacted with outrage to Kevin’s story on-line. Family members of the mom and the convicted sex offender then filed through Saint Clair County Court for personal protection orders, which were granted.
Kevin’s mom says she will work to make sure the story is told for her son and grandchild.
“If somebody is saying they have a right to take away our rights, no they don’t,” said Murray.
WXYZ reached out to the people who filed the PPOs for comment, but did not hear back. In PPO requests they say they feel the response to social media posts could put them in danger.
The Saint Clair County Court is seeing an increase in PPO requests, in part because of social media. In the last seven years the number of PPO requests filed has increased approximately eight-fold.
Kevin Lindke’s next court hearing is scheduled for Thursday.