Post Legal Questions Here

Discussion in 'Stacy Peterson' started by Littledeer, Dec 20, 2007.

  1. Littledeer

    Littledeer Former Member

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    Wudge has brought up some law issues including defamation, etc. I, for one would like to learn more about this issue, etc.

    I did not think it was appropriate on the Stacy Peterson thread. Any discussion there should be for "Stacy", and not whether Mr. Brodsky or DP could sue anyone for what they have said.
     
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  3. STEADFAST

    STEADFAST New Member

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    I'd post, too.

    But, you know, it's not a crime thread without at least a couple of defamation/libel posts by Wudge.

    ETA: Shouldn't this be in the jury room?
     
  4. Ang50

    Ang50 New Member

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    I haven't gone back and read the law posts, but I'm interested in the questions and may be able to shed some light.

    Here's the most important thing to remember about Libel/slander/defamation lawsuits - the burden of proof is generally on the plaintiff (suer - ie. Peterson) to prove what was said was NOT true. Plus, the suits are soooo rare in these type of cases. Think OJ, think Scott Peterson, Roger Clemens is a good recent example with steroids, etc - guys who professed their innocence but did not sue for defamation. WHY?

    Because they would have to take the stand and be cross examined under oath over every little thing that was said. AND - sometimes that testimony can be used to impeach later in another trial - say a criminal murder trial.

    The only time I've seen it used successfully was in the Michaela Garrett case - where the guy was rumored w/ a number of child murders, sued the city and the city settled.
     
  5. SeriouslySearching

    SeriouslySearching Active Member

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    Ang~ My question is can we be sued one by one for our posts here even if it is clearly stated they are only opinions in our siggies? It seems like that would be enough to keep our opinions open and free from petty lawsuits. Am I totally wrong?
     
  6. Littledeer

    Littledeer Former Member

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    SS:

    Good Question. I would also like to know the answer.
     
  7. Ang50

    Ang50 New Member

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    Of course you can be sued. All DP or anyone has to do is file a lawsuit... you're sued.

    Are you liable? Up to a judge/jury. What's my guess on liability? So highly unlikely that it's almost ridiculous. The level of research and time it would take a plaintiff's attorney to prove who said what, and how, and to get the records from the site and prove it was you posting and not your significant other, and then to prove that what you said was not protected speech and most of all that it wasn't true. The amount of $$ potentially recovered would not be worth it.

    I also think there's now a strong argument that DP (and others like him) are celebrities. Usually public figures have different standards applied to them - in essence if they're public, you can defame b/c they're in the public eye (certain exceptions - see Enquirer lawsuits) - that's why no one worries about making jokes about the President...

    If you're really worried about it, then hedge what you post. Don't say "He did it." Say "The evidence against him is this... The evidence points to him." Those are true statements.
     
  8. philamena

    philamena Former Member

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    SeriouslySearching,
    Your question was:

    The answer is, absolutely not. You cannot be sued for stating your opinion or your beliefs.
    Just as FYI-Many years ago, the admin and mods here at WS told everyone to put something like IMO in their siggy lines or at the end of their post as protection from that very thing. That is enough to keep you safe when voicing your opinon on a forum.

    :) Wudge is the resident wife murdering supporter. He's only trying to stir the pot.
     
  9. robthomaseyes

    robthomaseyes New Member

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    Very well said, ANG50.
     
  10. SeriouslySearching

    SeriouslySearching Active Member

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    Oh, Thank you, Ang!! Whew! Glad we cleared that up!! Hugs~ You are the best!
     
  11. Taximom

    Taximom Former Member

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    I think STEADFAST is correct, this doesn't necessarily have to be in Stacy's forum since it's a broad topic covering WS in total. It's also been discussed on MANY threads and for a long time. I'm glad it has its own thread now. Thanks, Littledeer.

    I'd love to hear what Tricia says about this! lol
     
  12. Taximom

    Taximom Former Member

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    It probably would have scared me too but I've seen it before. Have you ever read the Scott Peterson thread? Oh yeah, it's the Energizer Bunny of Threads here.

    It's all very interesting and some valid points are raised, but there's a place for it, I believe.
     
  13. chicoliving

    chicoliving Former Member

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    Some posters approach these cases from a law standpoint, others from the evidence, media reports, what we see on TV, etc.

    What we type in these little boxes is considered our opinion unless otherwise noted. Otherwise noted would be the excerpt snips that we post that we've gotten elsewhere and we have to follow the copyright rules to give credit to the correct source.

    We'd like to keep the discussions of these cases on an adult level and that's why some rules have been added like referring to the players in any case by their names or intials and not the silly names no matter how tempting.

    Everyone is entitled to type in these little boxes and express their opinion whether you agree with their opinion or not.

    Our software has some handy features like the ignore feature. I suggest utilizing the features that are available and if all else fails just scroll on by and respond only to those posts you are interested in actually discussing rather than dissing a select member or two.

    Frankly I'm ashamed of the posts I deleted that were nothing but personal attacks and smart ass comments directed at a member. We're above that or so I thought.
     
  14. SeriouslySearching

    SeriouslySearching Active Member

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    Thanks, Philamena and Chicoliving!! You guys are really helpful!! I feel SO much better! OK Back to posting now...my opinions...of course! >wink<
     
  15. Camper

    Camper New Member

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    Yes to what chicoliving said. During the JonBenet case discussion here, when LinWood threatened to sue everyone in sight etc. Tricia informed us to put disclaimers in our post signatures to cover ourselves legally as well. This is how my signature statement 'gave birth'.

    .
     
  16. TGIRecovered

    TGIRecovered Active Member

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    I hope we won't have to continue to endure a poster who insists upon scaring the poop out of people who are just participating in a conversation. It is rude and annoying. What I don't understand, is that when anyone responds to this perpetual antagonism, it is the person who responds who is chastized but the rude and repetitive posts are allowed to continue.Why not just remind the the original poster that the point has been made, stop responding to everyone else with the same fear-mongering warnings over and over again?I'm sorry to sound like a whiner. I appreciate the difficulty of being a moderator and admire the mod's willingness to handle this thankless task. It just seems to me that it would be much more efficient to have a little talk with this one poster than for many, many others to have to reassure less experienced posters time and again that they won't be dragged in to court. It's like a big bad wolf roaming around looking for young lost sheep to scare.Susan
     
  17. dee10134

    dee10134 I'm BAAAAACK!

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    Are we sure Wudge isn't DP or JB?!

    JUST MY OPINION HERE WUDGIE! :innocent:
     
  18. Ang50

    Ang50 New Member

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    Just to clarify - I did not read the posts at issue so my context in my answer was very broad and general.

    However, I would caution that even if you have a special signature and you state your opinion as "DP is a S*B, I heard he's done X & Y" and so on - that does not necessarily make it protected speech.

    If we're talking poster to poster comments, like "Ang50 is a wife-beater and she has a criminal record" then that is defamatory and this is a community like any other. That comment better be true or you are potentially opening yourself up to a libel/defamation suit. In fact, there have been a couple defamation suits based on internet forums when one poster has slandered another. Don't call names seems like a pretty safe rule - don't say something here that you wouldn't say to your neighbor.

    All that said - this is Tricia's site and her rules. I'm not anyone's lawyer and these are not legal opinions.
     
  19. SeriouslySearching

    SeriouslySearching Active Member

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    Gotcha, Ang! I do try to be cautious. : ) I haven't called anyone horrible things lately that I know of...but I will keep all of that in mind definitely!
     
  20. curiositycat

    curiositycat The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule

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    While what you are saying is true it is VERY HARD to win a defamation of character suit.
     
  21. Ang50

    Ang50 New Member

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    Yep - that point was in my first post on this subject.

    One thing I didn't say in the first post was that even if someone would win - so what? What damages do you get when someone calls you a name? Between two private citizens, getting much $$ is so unlikely that any lawyer taking the case will probably get all the fees and the plaintiff gets nothing.

    People shouldn't call names, but other people shouldn't threaten to sue. It's an empty threat for the most part. My post were just recommending what people could do to change their posts slightly to make a case harder to prove. No one's speech discussing the case should be chilled for fear of a suit.
     

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