Posted by panch from adsl-64-165-200-251.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net (220.127.116.11) on Saturday, June 15, 2002 at 10:16AM :
Jackie's case is hopeless and Shawn knows it. That's why they jump whenever the doorbell rings and want to know if I'm here to settle. He'd prefer it of course because then he wont have to tie himself in knots trying to get a ridiculous conviction...they know it...knew it when they wrote threatening John for his tapes...when they sued Jeff...when Shawn flew down to have coffee with me and hope I'd settle.
My defense will be the truth. I know what happened, I know what Jackie did, I know I was asked to go Detroit for the weekend, and thanks to them all, I can now prove that she is indeed a vindictive woman who acts every bit the part of the "woman scorned". You all know that now too, as do the people in San Jose. The trial will just be the icing on the cake.
I didn't defame, slander or libel her...because everything I said was true and she has to prove it was NOT...I only have to defend myself...I don't have to prove anything. As far as her not being able to wake up in the morning because her body was spread all over the place, that isn't my fault either...her hurt feelings have no place in a court of law.
WHAT IS "DEFAMATION"?
Defamation, sometimes called "defamation of character", is spoken or
written words that falsely and negatively reflect on a living person's
If a person or the news media says or writes something about you that is
understood to lower your reputation, or that keeps people from
associating with you, defamation has occurred. Slander and libel are two
forms of defamation.
WHAT IS "SLANDER"?
[Free legal information for libel/slander law @ FreeAdvice.com.] Slander
is a spoken defamation.
WHAT IS "LIBEL"?
[Free legal information for libel/slander law @ FreeAdvice.com.] Libel
is a written defamation. Generally, radio and television broadcasts that
are defamatory are considered to be libel, rather than slander.
CAN I SUE SOMEONE WHO SAYS OR WRITES SOMETHING DEFAMATORY ABOUT ME?
[Free legal information for libel/slander law @ FreeAdvice.com.] In
order to prove defamation, you have to be able to prove that what was
said or written about you was false. If the information is true, or if
you consented to publication of the material, you will not have a case.
However, you may bring an defamatory action if the comments are so
reprehensible and false that they effect your reputation in the
community or cast aspersions on you.
CAN LIBEL SUITS BE BROUGHT BY A PUBLIC FIGURE?
[Free legal information for libel/slander law @ FreeAdvice.com.] These
suits are a bit dicer for the public figure.
A public figure may be an elected or appointed (a politician) or someone
who has stepped into a public controversy (e.g., movie stars and TV
stars, star athletes). Public figures have a "harder road to toll" than
the average person since they must prove that the party defaming them
knew the statements were false, made them with actual malice, or was
negligent in saying or writing them. Proving these elements makes the
chance of a successful lawsuit slim.
WHAT ABOUT INSULTS AND EPITHETS? ARE THEY DEFAMATORY?
[Free legal information for libel/slander law @ FreeAdvice.com.]
Generally, no. Usually they are seen as outbursts of emotion, with no
real substance, except to show intense dislike.
DON'T I HAVE A RIGHT TO EXPRESS MY OPINION?
[Free legal information for libel/slander law @ FreeAdvice.com.] Yes, so
long as your statement of opinion is just an opinion, not containing
specific facts that can be proved untrue.
ARE THERE DEFENSES TO DEFAMATION?
[Free legal information for libel/slander law @ FreeAdvice.com.]
Establishing the truth is the single most effective defense that can be
offered. If the remark is truthful and it "hurts", is embarrassing, or
subjects you to ridicule, there is little you can do. Unfortunately,
unless the remark is false, you have no recourse.
WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES TO A LIBEL CLAIM?
[Free legal information for libel/slander law @ FreeAdvice.com.] There
are three main defenses to a libel claim (other than asserting that it
never happened or that you were never involved):
The first is claiming, and proving, that the statement was privileged
(and thus not public). Only certain professions (doctors, lawyers,
psychologists), or individuals (chiefly your spouse) can maintain that
privilege; and if any non-privileged third party was part of the
communication, the privilege is broken. (Employees of a professional are
only partially covered, to the extent that you needed to use them to
contact the professional. Don't expect to tell your deepest, darkest
secret to your attorney's secretary, and maintain that privilege.)
The second defense is claiming, and proving, that the statement is true,
for "truth is an absolute defense".
The third defense is claiming, and proving, that the statement was an
opinion, not an assertion of a fact. Since this last defense is only as
good as the weakest or worst, but still reasonable, misinterpretation,
it's not one you really want to rely on. There's a world of difference
between saying "I think he's a crook," and "he's a crook". Especially if
a third party might inadvertently leave out the first two words when
passing your message on.
WHAT DAMAGES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SLANDER OR LIBEL?
[Free legal information for libel/slander law @ FreeAdvice.com.] If you
have been defamed you may seek both actual damages, to recover the harm
that you have suffered, and punitive damages to punish the person who
made the remark (and serve as an example to deter others).
If the defamation improperly accused you of a crime or reflected on your
profession, the Court or jury can assess the damages. For other types of
defamation you must prove some actual damage to be able to recover.
Libel and Slander
"Libel" involves the publishing of a falsehood that harms someone.
Slander is the same doctrine applied to the spoken word. Collectively,
they are referred to as "defamation". Both are a matter of state laws,
which usually (not always) require that the falsehood be intentional.
In New York Times v. Sullivan, the Supreme Court held that the First
Amendment requires that, before a public official can recover damages
for a defamatory statement, he must prove it was made with "actual
malice", even if state laws otherwise allow recovery for negligent
defamation. The Court has since expanded this to cover not only public
officials but "public figures", including individuals who involve
themselves in controversies.
What is Libel?
Where Can I Find a First Amendment Lawyer?
How I Can Access LDRC Resources?
What is Libel?
Libel and slander are legal claims for false statements of fact about a
person that are printed, broadcast, spoken or otherwise communicated to
others. Libel refers to statements in written or other permanent form,
while slander refers to verbal statements and gestures. The term
defamation encompasses both libel and slander.
In order for the person about whom a statement is made to recover for
libel, the false statement must be defamatory, meaning that it actually
harms the reputation of the other person, as opposed to being merely
insulting or offensive.
The defamatory statement must also have been made with fault. The extent
of the fault depends primarily on the status of the plaintiff. Public
figures, such as government officials, celebrities, well-known
individuals, and people involved in specific public controversies, are
required to prove actual malice, a legal term which means the defendant
knew his statement was false or recklessly disregarded the truth or
falsity of his statement. In general, private individuals must show only
that the defendant was negligent, that he failed to act with due care in
A defamation claim will fail if any of these elements are not met.
The primary defenses to a defamation claim are that the statements are
true, are statements of opinion or otherwise not statements of fact, or
are privileged. Truth and opinion are complete defenses to a defamation
claim. In addition, some defamatory statements may be protected by
privilege, meaning that in certain circumstances the interest in
communicating a statement outweighs the interest in protecting
reputation. For example, many jurisdictions recognize a privilege for
media reports of government and judicial proceedings, and for reports of
misconduct to the proper authorities.
A successful defamation plaintiff may be entitled to a jury award of
money damages. In some instances, the plaintiff may also be awarded
punitive damages for particularly reprehensible conduct. The parties to
the claim are entitled to appeal and cases are carefully scrutinized on
review to protect the defendant's First Amendment rights.
Defamation claims can be brought by living persons and legal entities
such as corporations, unincorporated businesses, associations and unions
that are considered "persons" under the law. Governmental entities
cannot maintain actions for libel or slander, although a government
official can bring suit for statements directed at them individually.
Libel and slander are civil claims, but about half the states recognize
an action for criminal defamation. Prosecutions are rare, especially
against the media.
Under the American federal law system, defamation claims are governed by
state law, subject only to the limitations imposed by the free speech
and press provisions of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
While the elements of defamation are practically identical throughout
the country, because defamation is a matter of state law there are
important differences on substantive and procedural details of the claim
in the separate jurisdictions. For example, states can, and several do,
provide heightened protections against defamation beyond those required
by the First Amendment.
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