Do libel cases tell us anything about JonBenet's murder?

Discussion in 'JonBenet Ramsey' started by eileenhawkeye, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. eileenhawkeye

    eileenhawkeye Active Member

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    The Ramseys have sued numerous media outlets in the past 14 years so I thought we could take a look at these court cases to see if they reveal anything about JonBenet's murder.

    My school has a newspaper archive so I'm looking at old articles about the lawsuits. I'm not allowed to copy and paste the articles here so I'll just paraphrase.



    1.) John and Patsy sued Time.com and their parent company, Time Warner, for the headline, "Extra: Tabloid solves JonBenet Case! Star magazine reports that police now think the brother did it. Don't laugh." The case was settled out of court.

    2.) John and Patsy sued The Globe for $35 million for saying that Burke Ramsey killed JonBenet. The case was settled out of court.

    3.) John and Patsy sued Star Magazine for $25 million for saying that Burke killed JonBenet. Star planned on going to court against the Ramseys so they could question them under oath. The tabloid's attorney commented that he was looking forward the cross-examing the Ramseys. The lawsuit was settled out of the court.

    4.) John and Patsy sued the NY Post for $4 million for saying Burke was a suspect in JonBenet's murder. The headline was, "JonBenet Bombshell Report: Jealous brother eyed in her killing." Because of the lawsuit, the NY Post was allowed access to investigation files about Burke.

    5.) John and Patsy sued the publishers of the book, "A Little Girl's Dream? A JonBenet Ramsey Story," for saying Burke killed his sister.

    6.) Chris Wolf sued John and Patsy for $50 million for defamation because they named him as a possible suspect in their book DOI. His lawyer said he plans on cross-examining the Ramseys under oath.

    7.) Linda Hoffmann Pugh also sued the Ramseys for $50 million for naming her a suspect in their book. The case was dismissed.

    8.) John and Patsy sued Steve Thomas for $80 million for making false accusations about Patsy in his book. Thomas said he looked forward to putting Patsy on trial. The case was settled out of court and Thomas said he never paid a cent.

    9.) John and Patsy sued Court TV for a documentary they ran that said John, Patsy, Burke, and an unknown intruder were all suspects in the case.

    10.) John and Patsy sued Fox News for $12 million for the statement, "There has never been any evidence to link an intruder to her brutal murder."
    The case was dismissed.


    11.) A Georgia man sued the Ramseys for unpaid reward money since they claimed they would pay whoever knew who killed their daughter 100k dollars. He knew the answer: They did. The case was dismissed.

    What does everyone make of these lawsuits? I noticed in a few of them, the lawyers for the defendants said that they were looking forward to taking the Ramseys to court. Is there a reason why none of the libel suits saw the inside of a courtroom?
     
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  3. wonderllama

    wonderllama Registered Snoozer

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    First thing I notice is that a lot of reports seem to focus on Burke.
    Second thing I notice is, gee you guys in America sue for a lot of money!

    But yes, lastly, it is telling that these things don't make it to court, probably a mix of the Ramsey's not wanting to be in court as well as the cases having no standing and really being a but of a tanty for the complainant.
     
  4. madeleine

    madeleine New Member

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    I wonder why they never sued those papers who wrote that "daddy did it".Afraid to open THAT can of worms?
    If they sued everybody who wrote that BDI that doesn't mean he didn't do it.They knew the cops can't prove it so the media won't be able to prove it either.They knew everything what was going on behind the scenes.
     
  5. SuperDave

    SuperDave Well-Known Member

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    How much time do you have, eileen? As I've often said, a monkey could have done a better job than Hoffman did with the Wolf case. He hurt himself far more than Lin Wood hurt him.

    As for the FOXNews suit, that was a clear case of learning from past mistakes. The company won the right to have the case adjudicated in Colorado, and not in Georgia, for one. AND they fought to get the DA to hand over the case file. It never got that far, but it was clear that they had no intention of going down without a fight. From his comments, it's clear Wood is still upset over it.

    A few reasons. Number one, as has often been pointed out, it's pretty standard proceedure to settle lawsuits rather than fight because it saves time and money. Wonderllama's right, as well.

    However, and this is why I reserved comment on the ST suit until now, if what Cina Wong told me is in any way accurate--and I have no reason to doubt that it is--we can't rule out threats and coercion, either. We also can't discount the idea of "Southern justice." Here's what I mean: according to one article--and I can't speak to its legitimacy one way or another--ST settled after a judge in Georgia ruled that the case would be adjudicated there. Maybe ST was worried he wouldn't get a fair shake in a state where Lin Wood was so well-known and connected and where, all too often, "justice" is less about getting to the truth than it is about protecting your own from "busybody Yankees." This judge sure seemed to feel that way, if his statements are anything to go by. He seemed to take ST's accusations against PR personally. "How da-uhr you slandah this faihr blossom of the South, suh?"
     
  6. eileenhawkeye

    eileenhawkeye Active Member

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    Apparently, libel cases are a lot harder to prove when you're a public figure so that could be why John and Patsy never sued media outlets who said they killed JonBenet. I don't believe Burke would be considered a public figure since he's never done any interviews even though he's been mentioned in the media.
     
  7. SuperDave

    SuperDave Well-Known Member

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    Very likely. Indeed, I don't see them suing over themselves at this point. Patsy's dead and John ran for public office, so that immediately disqualifies him as a private figure.
     
  8. eileenhawkeye

    eileenhawkeye Active Member

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    Libel cases have a 1 year statute of limitations so unless something was written since March 2010 that was libelous, John can't sue. The case came back in the news in October 2010 when Burke was being reinterviewed but I don't think any media outlets said anything that would be libel, not even the tabloids.

    An article from 1999 when the Ramseys announced they were going to start suing says that John and Patsy are considered public figures but Burke is not considered one, which makes a big difference in libel cases. Private citizens just have to prove negligence in libel suits, whereas public figures have to prove actual malice; that the publication knew the information they were printing was false.
     
  9. DeeDee249

    DeeDee249 New Member

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    Another reason why those cases were settled out of court is because had they gone to trial, and Colorado law kicked in preventing BR from being accused of the crime, everyone would know just by that happening that BR was guilty. I feel the GJ refusing to indict or issue a report pretty much says the same thing. As to why the parent(s) were never charged with tampering with evidence or the body- same thing. If they are charged only with that, and not with the actual killing, it is pretty obvious who was responsible for her death. They certainly would not do all that for anyone else but him.
     
  10. Chelly

    Chelly Well-Known Member

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    I have been thinking about the R's lawsuits and wondering if anyone has been sued in recent years, especially in light of the Kolar release. Guess it's time for me to do some more research.
     
  11. eileenhawkeye

    eileenhawkeye Active Member

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    I don't think so. I think the last lawsuit was around 2004-2005 v. Fox News.
     
  12. Anyhoo

    Anyhoo New Member

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    No. IMO
     
  13. ScarlettScarpetta

    ScarlettScarpetta When the going gets tough, drink coffee

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    The point is that people have had to pay up for lying and printing rumors.

    I think that had any of it been true that would not be the case.
    To me the suits mean they were not going to stand by and let people lie about them. If they are guilty the easiest thing to do is ignore it rather than have more digging going on in court cases.
     
  14. Chelly

    Chelly Well-Known Member

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    Hummmm. Wonder why those libel-suit-loving R's haven't sued Chief Kolar? Now THAT would prove fascinating.
     
  15. Nom de plume

    Nom de plume New Member

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    IMO, they knew when filing these suits that they'd never go to court. They couldn't take them to court! They just hoped the defendants would settle not wanting the expense of a trial, and they did.
     
  16. tezi

    tezi Member of Websleuths since 2000.

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    Yes, fascinating indeed...However, it's not going to happen. JR doesn't want that can of worms opened...It would bring "more drama" to the situation. IMO

    JMO
     
  17. SuperDave

    SuperDave Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that's the last one I can remember, too. You have to wonder why that was the last one, too. Possibly because the judge in that lawsuit threw it out of court and slammed the Ramseys for trying to silence their critics. More likely, there haven't been any since then because John has made a run for public office, which makes him a political figure, and everything said about him is now fair game, and Patsy's dead.
     
  18. chlban

    chlban Active Member

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    [I
    I love this one. The Ramseys sure would owe the reward money to a boatload of people.
     
  19. midwest mama

    midwest mama Active Member

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    Dr Hodges has written 2 books stating he believes both Patsy and John were implicit in JB's murder. No lawsuits there either.
     
  20. midwest mama

    midwest mama Active Member

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    BBM

    At last Scarlett...an opinion we share. No public Ramsey challenges to Kolar, Hodges, Boyles, Silverman, Phillips, Wilcox, Fernies, and probably some others I haven't listed.
     
  21. Tadpole12

    Tadpole12 Well-Known Member

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    Paralegal Voice
    Attorney L. Lin Wood on Representing the Ramseys and Other High-Profile Individuals
    June 27, 2014

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:sF9PcTyGb7gJ:legaltalknetwork.com/podcasts/paralegal-voice/2014/06/attorney-l-lin-wood-representing-ramseys-high-profile-individuals/+&cd=23&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca

    Lin Wood: .... Richard Jewell, when I undertook to represent him in a few short days after the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in July of 1996, Richard Jewell changed my professional career. Obviously since that time I have probably spent about 50% of my practice in the area of First Amendment law and defamation cases. Richard was not only a great client; he was a great friend. He passed away too early; I miss him everyday.

    My passion, though, for the practice of law has not really been to take on First Amendment cases or medical malpractice cases, or business litigation cases; it’s really a passion that deals with representing, in the main, individuals who are viewed as the underdog. Represented and had the privilege of representing some very wealthy people. I’ve represented some large corporation but my passion is always driven by the Richard Jewells of the world. The people who find themselves pitted against powerful and wealthy opponents, who really need someone to fight for them because they are, in effect, fighting for their lives.

    First Amendment law is really a fight about reputation. At the end of the day when we live this earth, and we don’t necessarily all know for sure what’s going to happen to us, except we know that we live behind our reputation. We spend a lifetime building it and unfortunately in the media environment that we live in today, a lifetime of work to build a reputation can be destroyed worldwide in literally a matter of seconds. That’s what happened to Richard Jewell in 1996 when the international media descended on him in Atlanta when he was obviously being pursued by the FBI.

    I’ve had obviously clients since Richard that have found themselves in very similar situations. We can talk about First Amendment as a matter of freedom of speech, freedom of the press. I like to talk about First Amendment law as being an area where one protects his or her reputation.

    ........

    Lin Wood: ...Not too very long after I undertook the representation of Richard, I was contacted by Patsy Ramsey and asked to consider representing John and Patsy in connection with certain defamatory publications about their Burke, who was 9 years of age when he lost his life’s best friend JonBenet Ramsey when she was 6. I did agree to represent Burke and to meet John and Patsy and to spend time with them quickly led me to believe in them so I undertook for over 10 years a variety of matters for them both involving defamation and involving the investigation into JonBenet’s murder in Boulder, Colorado. Take a lot of credit, and don’t mind saying it, in having that investigation moved away from Boulder Police into the hands of the district attorneys office. That ultimately led to the district attorney public exonerating John and Patsy and Burke from any involvement in JonBenet’s murder.

    .........

    Lin Wood: Rule of thumb, kind of defamation 101, if you’re representing someone like a Richard Jewell or John and Patsy Ramsey, one of your goals you’ve got to do what needs to be done to make sure that these innocent people are never arrested, never charged. Richard Jewell: never arrested, never charged. John and Patsy Ramsey: never arrested, never charged. Because once that arrest occurs, you just simply will never be able to sustain a viable, successful libel case. If there’s enough information out there to make the arrest, even if proven innocent, there is no relief from a libel litigation standpoint.

    .........

    Lin Wood: Yes, what happened to John and Patsy Ramsey will affect generations to come of their family members. It will never be forgotten; it will never be erased. The damage can never be completely undone. Same true with Richard Jewell.
     

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