RE: Techie's List

Subject: RE: Techie's List
From: "Fred Ridder" <docudoc -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: lt34 -at- csus -dot- edu, David -dot- Eason -at- lsi -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 02 Feb 2007 14:55:12 -0500

Point 1:
Jim was incorrect when he stated that "in some states, [criminal
libe] is a Class 6 Felony". That is true in exactly *one* state: Colorado.
If you look at the website that Jim cited, you will see that only
17 states have criminal libel laws at all, and that in all of them
except Colorado simple libel is a misdemeanor. (A few states
do make it a felony to coerce behavior on the *threat* of libel,
but the actual crime here is blackmail or extrtion because the libel
itself need never be committed.) You would also see that many
of the criminal libel laws have specific conditions for criminality,
such as libel against public officials, libel against a bank, libel that
causes a breach of the peace (e.g. incites to riot), or that is
knowingly false and intentionally malicious. And if you read the
parent article that is linked from the bottom of that web page,
you will learn that many states are rescinding criminal libel laws
for a variety of reasons, including constitutional free speech
issues, and the difficulty of proving all the elements of a
criminal libel offence.

Point 2:
Criminal libel is much harder to prove than civil libel because of
the additional conditions in criminal libel statutes.

Point 3:
In most jurisdictions, prosecutors have better things to spend
their time and the public's money on than offences where civil
remedies also exist.

The bottom line is that criminal libel statutes present little or no
risk to anyone who lives outside of Colorado and who doesn't
deliberately commit malicious acts.

-Fred Ridder

From: "Lauren" <lt34 -at- csus -dot- edu>
To: "'Eason, David'" <David -dot- Eason -at- lsi -dot- com>, <vrfour -at- verizon -dot- net>,<techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Subject: RE: Techie's List
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2007 10:47:44 -0800

It's still a felony. Felonies are bad. That's not an infraction that you
can write-off, or a misdemeanor that you can explain away, it's a felony.
It affects many legal issues in a person's life while it remains on the
record. Some jobs are not available to people with felonies, like law and
law enforcement. School loans are also restricted and people with felonies
need to jump through hoops to recover from this if hoop jumping is even


-----Original Message-----
From: Eason, David [mailto:David -dot- Eason -at- lsi -dot- com]
Sent: Friday, February 02, 2007 10:26 AM
To: Lauren; vrfour -at- verizon -dot- net; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Techie's List

Actually, a class 6 felony is the lowest grade. Premeditated murder is a
class 1 felony.

David Eason

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+david -dot- eason=lsi -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+david -dot- eason=lsi -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
Of Lauren
Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2007 7:38 PM
To: vrfour -at- verizon -dot- net; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Techie's List

"Criminal Libel ... is a Class 6 Felony"?

Wow. That one can get a person's attention.


-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+lt34=csus -dot- edu -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lt34=csus -dot- edu -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of
James Barrow
Sent: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 10:20 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Techie's List

>Fred Ridder said:
>So Jim, are you saying that you were not the person who said "They
>would have to prove a) a post to this website was actually a crime"?

I did indeed post that.

>And for the record, the one and only place in the thread where the
>words "crime" or "criminal" were used in any posting to the list was in

>a message from Janice Gelb where she was directly quoting from an item
>on a case law website. The word "criminal" did appear in the quotation,

>but the whole point of the quotation was that a specific statute in
>Illinois had been interpreted by the state's supreme court as part of
>criminal libel law [rather than civil libel law] and therefore subject
>to issues of intent and purpose rather than simply the truth or
of the statement.

The link that Janice posted talked about a defense to a charge of criminal
libel. Going on that, I looked up Criminal Libel which, in some states, is
a Class 6 Felony:

Then I found a link where this archaic law was recently enforced:

"All that changed in 1964, when the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that public
officials (later broadened to include public figures) could not win a libel
verdict or secure a criminal-libel conviction without proving that the
report was made with "actual malice," and either published with the
knowledge that it was untrue or done with a reckless disregard for the

In reference to the Techie List, the subject of a poor rating would have to
prove actual malice to support a charge of criminal libel. But, in my haste
to get to my lunch, I didn't map out the happy path from Janice's link to my
comment. I apologize.

>So as far as the thread itself goes, you *were* the first (and only)
>person to state or imply that libel was a crime. Check the list archive

>if you think I'm wrong.

Nope, I believe you.

- Jim

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RE: Techie's List: From: Lauren

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