CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Imagine writing one-star Facebook reviews for a business, then a year later, you’re facing jail time for writing those reviews.
Gina Criscione is dealing with that situation right now.
“They hauled Gina into court on first-degree misdemeanor charges, six months of jail on each of them, she’s facing up to a year,” said Brian Bardwell, Criscione’s lawyer.
According to Bardwell, the Brook Park native wrote less than stellar reviews on Facebook about the East Park Care Center where her mother was staying.
“Things were very bad, her mother died very shortly after leaving East Park, so what the report shows is you have a woman who experienced that and then was talking about it freely and openly online,” Bardwell added.
The prosecution says Criscione just didn’t leave bad reviews, she also called the care facility 2,000 times in 17 months.
That’s the basis, they say, for why she’s charged with telecommunications harassment and menacing by stalking.
“As to menacing by stalking under A1, it requires engaging in a pattern and again causes someone to believe that they are under mental distress,” said Peter Sackett, prosecuting attorney.
Criscione’s lawyer filed a motion to dismiss the charges against her.
On Friday, a Berea municipal judge heard arguments from both sides.
“If I threaten to hunt down you and your family, that’s a true threat that’s not protected but so far... I didn’t hear from the prosecutor that anything Gina said was not protected speech,” said Bardwell.
The judge has not decided whether or not he will dismiss these charges, he says that decision will come next week.
In the meantime, Criscione isn’t allowed to contact the East Park Care Center under any circumstances.