Defamation, Libel, and Slander
What does the law say about libel?
Libel is defined as a false or malicious unprivileged publication by writing, printing, picture, or effigy or other fixed representation to the eye, which exposes any person to public hatred, contempt, ridicule or obloquy, or which tends to deprive him of public confidence, or to injure him in his occupation, or any malicious publication as aforesaid, designed to blacken or vilify the memory of one who is dead, and tending to scandalize his surviving relatives or friends.
Every person who makes, composes or dictates such libel or procures the same to be done; or who willfully publishes or circulates such libel; or in any way knowingly or willfully aids or assists in making, publishing or circulating the same, shall be punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not more than one (1) year, or by fine not exceeding One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or both, and shall also be civilly liable to the party injured.
What counts as an unprivileged publication?
In this circumstance an unprivileged publication is defined more by what it is not rather than by what it is. The statute specifically defines what a privileged publication is, and anything that does not fall under that definition is considered unprivileged.
A privileged publication is one made:
First. In any legislative or judicial proceeding or any other proceeding authorized by law;
Second. In the proper discharge of an official duty.
Third. By a fair and true report of any legislative or judicial or other proceeding authorized by law, or anything said in the course thereof, and any and all expressions of opinion in regard thereto, and criticisms thereon, and any and all criticisms upon the official acts of any and all public officers, except where the matter stated of and concerning the official act done, or of the officer, falsely imputes crime to the officer so criticized.
In all cases of publication of matter not privileged under this section, malice shall be presumed from the publication; unless the fact and the testimony rebut the same. No publication which, under this section, would be privileged, shall be punishable as libel.
What about slander?
The states that any person, who shall willfully, knowingly, or maliciously repeat or communicate to any person, or persons, a false rumor or report of a slanderous or harmful nature, or which may be detrimental to the character or standing of such other person, or persons, whether such person is a private citizen, or officer, or candidate for office, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or imprisoned not less than thirty (30) days nor more than one hundred and twenty (120) days in the county jail, or both so fined and imprisoned for each offense.
There are always two sides to every story. Call us so that we can get to work on your case and get your side of the story. Seek out the best attorney who can put up a zealous defense and protect your future. Call us today!
Stay safe and stay silent. Don’t make a statement to police. You have the right to defense and you should always take full advantage of that right. Even with the best intentions and honesty, your words can still be used against you. Without proper representation, the State can set you up for failure that could cause lots of inconvenience and unnecessary aggravation. Let us set you up for success!
If you have been accused of criminal slander or libel, be sure to contact the aggressive and compassionate attorneys at Boeheim Freeman Law, who will fight for you and your rights!
The best criminal lawyers will tear apart the credibility and reliability of the State’s witnesses. We investigate thoroughly any motivation that a witness might have to lie or deceive. Our attorneys are well trained in cross-examination techniques and can expertly maneuver around a witness and trap them in their lies and misconceptions. We will get the truth and vigorously defend you. You need an attorney who not only knows the law, but knows how to argue it effectively. Let Boeheim Freeman Law’s expertise and training go to work for you.