Court upholds 50-year order for protection

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled a 50-year order for protection against a man does not violate his First Amendment rights.

The Court today upheld the order that prevents James Bergstrom, a Washington County man, from contacting his former wife and his two children for 50 years, an order imposed by the court after he was jailed for abuse and stalking.

In its decision, the Court of Appeals upholds the 2008 law passed by the Legislature permitting such lengthy extensions of orders for protections in cases in which a person violates an existing or previous order, engages in stalking, or is incarcerated or about to be released.

Bergstrom argued the order constitutes a “prior restraint” on free speech. But the Court said “an injunction that restricts speech in a content-neutral manner is not a prior restraint… like a protest buffer zone, an OFP extension … that includes a no-contact order is content-neutral because it restricts contact with the abuse victim initiated by the abusing party without regard for the message the abusing party intends to express.”

Read the full decision.

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