Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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Mistress’ Tirade Wasn’t|Protected Free Speech

(CN) - A mistress' screaming tirade at her lover's wife was not constitutionally protected free speech, the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled, upholding a disorderly conduct restraining order against the other woman.

Tonia and Monte Hoggarth took out a restraining order against Mary Kropp in 2009. They said Kropp harassed Tonia and her son outside Tonia's workplace and sent the family disruptive emails over an extramarital affair that Kropp had with Monte Hoggarth.

The affair ceased for a time but later resumed, and Kropp sent photos to the family via e-mail from a time after the affair has presumably ended.

The court entered a restraining order against Kropp, barring her from contacting the family for two years.

Kropp appealed on free-speech grounds, but the state high court affirmed dismissal of the case, citing its similarity to City of Fargo v. Brennan (1996).

"She screamed while flailing her arms. Her behavior was erratic. She was within close proximity to Tonia Hoggarth. She unleashed her tirade directly in front of a minor child. This behavior was compounded by Kropp's e-mail, which the district court found was sent to the entire family and timed to cause disruption," Justice Dale Sandstrom wrote.

Sandstrom sent the case back to district court "to establish specific distance boundaries and schedules to strike a balance between protection for the Hoggarths and freedom for Kropp."

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