What does a case involving an impersonation of a Dead Sea Scrolls scholar have to do with matrimonial and family law? Well, you’d be surprised.
Raphael Glob Case
Raphael Glob, who had previously been charged with identity theft, criminal impersonation, aggravated harassment in the second degree, and unauthorized use of a computer, had his convictions vacated on May 13, 2014, by the New York Court of Appeals. In 2008, Glob impersonated Dead Sea Scroll scholars via E-mail, penning harassing messages that mocked the expert scholars and their work. In their May 13th ruling, the judges determined that aggravated harassment in the second degree is “unconstitutionally vague and overbroad” (New York Penal Law, Section 240.30 ).
New York law stated that a person could be found guilty of aggravated harassment in the second degree when it was determined that they had the “intent to harass, annoy, threaten, or alarm another person” or when they “communicate with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, by telegraph, or by mail, or by transmitting or delivering any other form of written communication, in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm”. In some matrimonial and family court cases, one party or spouse will accuse the other of harassment, and an order of protection would usually be granted to the petitioning party. While there is a great deal of New York case law stating that just a written threat or harassment is not enough to warrant an order of protection, many judges would grant the orders in domestic dispute cases.
In an interview given to the New York Daily News, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said, “The aggravated harassment statute is one of the most important tools we have to protect victims of, among other serious crimes, stalking and domestic violence”. The Court of Appeals’ decision can potentially put future parties at risk during their matrimonial or family law legal actions because it can make it harder to obtain an order of protection.
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