Macomb County Dad Jailed For Trash-Talking Judge on Facebook! (Pt 2)

A picture of a phone with Facebook's login screen open, next to Scrabble letters that spell out the words "social media"
Facebook allows us to stay in touch with loved ones and connect with old friends. But it can also become a dangerous place if we’re not careful.

Welcome back and thanks for joining us. We’ve been talking about the fact that there are ways to handle conflict in a custody battle and ways you shouldn’t go about it. Case in point, the Macomb County dad who was arrested, not once but twice, over the way he chose to handle what he saw as corruption in the family court. As we mentioned in the previous article, Jonathan Vanderhagen fought for sole custody of his 1-year-old son in 2017 because the baby had been born with hydrocephalus, and the mother’s drug abuse issues made it hard for her to give him the care he needed. But the court never granted him custody and his son died. Now he’s fighting back, using Facebook as his platform.

He was arrested again, and this time the consequences were more serious.

After his first arrest, Vanderhagen posted the $1,000 bail, was ordered to have no contact with the Judge, and immediately resumed his online tirade against her. Although nothing he posted on Facebook was a direct threat, and Vanderhagen never reached out directly to the Judge in any way, his actions were still seen as hostile. When he returned to court for his next hearing, a new Judge was sitting on the bench who felt that making more posts about Judge Rancilio was a violation of the no contact bond. So he tossed him back in jail and ordered him held on a staggering $500,000 cash surety bond.

Vanderhagen’s attorney believes he’s being made an example of.

Vanderhagen’s attorney says the incredibly high bail is “unheard of” in a case where the charge is a simple misdemeanor. He went on to say that a $500,000 cash bond would make sense for somebody who perceived as very dangerous, or who might be a flight risk. But in Vanderhagen’s case, neither of those options really applies. Hr simply voiced his opinion on Facebook. However, other legal experts have spoken to the media about the case and speculated that the Judge in question felt that legal orders were simply being ignored. Which means this high bail is being used as a way to make a statement.

There is also the issue of free speech on the line…

Vanderhagen, who is scheduled for trial in Clinton Township at the end of this week, is looking at a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. But even that’s unlikely to stop his crusade. As he told his mother, he is not guilty of anything and he’ll never give up the fight. And as his attorney has pointed out, Vnaderhagen never threatened the Judge, he simply exercised his right to speak out about a grievance he had with his elected officials, using Facebook as his format. It’s a tricky subject though, and speaking out can easily be perceived as threatening when you’re angry.

Make sure you have the right attorney from the start.

One thing we know for sure is that custody cases are complex, and having the right family law attorney on your side can make a world of difference to the outcome. So if you believe your custody agreement isn’t fair ( or isn’t safe for your children) call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. Our skilled and experienced family law attorneys can help you fight for your children and protect your rights. We’re available 24/7 to help.