Felonies from Facebook Posts?
Anyone who is active on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) has probably regretted something they posted online at one time or another. However, for a Bay City woman, her regret comes along with a felony conviction. Rene K. Kolka posted some derogatory comments about an ex-friend, claiming she was promiscuous and used drugs. She also posted the ex-friend’s phone number. As a result, the ex-friend received multiple phone calls from male strangers.
Kolka was charged with one count of “unlawful posting of a message,” which is a felony and is punishable by up to two years imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.00. MCL 750.411s defines the elements of this crime as follows:
(1) A person shall not post a message through the use of any medium of communication, including the internet or a computer, computer program, computer system, or computer network, or other electronic medium of communication, without the victim’s consent, if all of the following apply:
(a) The person knows or has reason to know that posting the message could cause 2 or more separate noncontinuous acts of unconsented contact with the victim.
(b) Posting the message is intended to cause conduct that would make the victim feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.
(c) Conduct arising from posting the message would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress and to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.
(d) Conduct arising from posting the message causes the victim to suffer emotional distress and to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.
It appears that the key action taken by Kolka that led to her being charged with this felony was when she posted the ex-friend’s phone number.
Kolka ultimately pled guilty to the charge. In exchange, the prosecutor agreed to recommend that Kolka receive a delayed sentence and, if she successfully complies with all court requirements during the delayed period, she will be allowed to withdraw her plea and instead plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge.
For more information on this case, click here.