Petitioner filed a petition seeking a stalking no-contact order against Defendant. Attached to the petition was an addendum and several pages of “screen save”. They were from social media postings Defendant had written to Petitioner.

The addendum showed that Defendant engaged in a course of conduct of stalking. This took place over several years. Defendant followed, monitored, observed, surveilled, and threatened Petitioner. Defendant also harassed Petitioner on social media. Defendant caused others to post harassing and distressful comments.

The trial court entered a plenary stalking no-contact order. Defendant appealed.

Defendant argued that Petitioner’s claims of stalking were not supported by enough evidence. She argued that there had been no witness testimony. She also argued that none of Petitioner’s allegations in her petition were verified by a witness. Finally, Defendant argued that Petitioner did not prove that Defendant knew Defendant’s acts caused fear to Petitioner. The stalking no contact order required that Petitioner had to prove she feared for her safety.

The Appellate Court did not agree with any of Defendant’s arguments. Defendant’s social media postings and other online comments were part of a course of conduct of stalking. For example, screen saves attached to the addendums show Defendant monitoring Petitioner’s daily activities.

And Defendant making degrading, threatening, and harassing comments about Petitioner. This speech is not protected under the first amendment. Defendant’s claim that her free speech rights were violated fails.

Defendant believes her actions did not scare Petitioner. But, the evidence showed that the parties had a three-year history of confrontation. Petitioner was fearful of the extremes that Defendant would go to.

Piester v. Escobar, 2015 IL App (3d) 140457.

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