Chart - Criminal Libel is the crime of making public...

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Criminal Libel - is the crime of making public statements that tend to disturb the peace, usually by either inciting racial hatred or criticizing public officials. They often are found to be void for vagueness. Also, cases too closely resemble seditious prosecutions, according to some courts. -17 states and 2 U.S. territories have statutes that allow the government to prosecute people for defaming public officials Garrison v. Louisiana – court extends actual malice rule to criminal libel De Libellis Famosis – English case w/Lord Coke Every libel made against private man, or against a magistrate or public person Against private man deserves a severe punishment (per consequens) – incites all in family Magistrate/Public person – greater offense, not only breach of peace but scandal of government Usually base criminal libel on actual malice requirement Some state statutes (South Carolina) – show common law malice (ill will, spite/hatred) Actual malice must be proved in libel cases involving public concern (10th Circuit upheld Kansas statute) Some (Alabama) just need to prove falsely and maliciously Who can sue for libel? A living individual; not a dead person (per N.C. statute) A business A nonprofit group like a church or a charity The government cannot successfully sue for libel because we live in a democratic society and citizens have the right to criticize and serve as watchdog for government. 1. Defamation – false communication made with fault that damages a person’s reputation. Something that causes one to be held up to hatred, ridicule or contempt. Accusations taken in their everyday meaning. Usually accusations of criminal activity, professional incompetence or moral failings. Two types of defamation are libel and slander Slander – vocal defamation Libel – written libel Libel per se - Quarterback Joe Smith is a murderer. Publications susceptible of two interpretations, one defamatory and one not - Quarterback Joe Smith is like O.J. Simpson. Libel per quod - Quarterback Joe Smith did not travel with the team to Arizona Friday. (Add that to the information that Coach Bunting said one student was not allowed to travel with the team last week because he was found to have illegal drugs in his locker.) Precedents for three types of defamation in N.C .: Flake v. Greensboro News Co. Possible defamatory statements - Saying someone is an alcoholic or a homosexual, But not calling someone a racially insensitive name, Not saying Dr. P. is 65 years old (but she might punish you anyway!)
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2. Identification – requires third party identification Group libel - applies when a group is defamed and one member of that group sues for libel. Depends on size of the group
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Chart - Criminal Libel is the crime of making public...

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