Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Tennessee Ham's Contempt Citation Upheld

An appeals court in Tennessee has affirmed that a contempt citation issued in connection with a
(Courtesy Free-Vectors.com)
harassment complaint involving ham radio is within the state's jurisdiction. According to the ARRL Letter, the case involved two Tennessee hams, Michael Mgrdichian, ex-N2FUV, and Jamie Faucon, N3FA, and started after Faucon complained to the FCC that Mgrdichian was using racially-abusive language on the air. After that, Mgrdichian allegedly "stalked, threatened and harassed" Faucon on the air several times between 2016 and 2019. 

A local court issued a temporary protection order, prohibiting Mgrdichian from contacting Faucon by any means, either directly or indirectly. When the harassment continued, Mgrdichian was held in criminal contempt and sentenced to 30 days in jail. Mgrdichian appealed, claiming that since his actions involved the use of amateur radio, the state courts had no jurisdiction. The Tennessee Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling that the case was about his violation of the state-issued temporary protection order, not his use of amateur radio. "A party's radio usage," the ruling said, "does not automatically preempt the case from being heard by a state court."