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What’s Going On? The Legal Aspect of CaDefLaw (Part 1)

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WRGO Magazine and Cadeflaw

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Julie Noel, Cadeflaw Legal Analyst, talks about the legal aspects of the Anti-Defamation Legacy Law. Part one of four shows.

 
Originally, there was no need to enact a civil law remedy for defamation of the deceased, because there were criminal libel statutes. These were designed to maintain the public peace when one person spoke ill of a dead person, and violence was feared by the government authorities. Over the centuries, the threat to public peace diminished, yet defamatory speech levied against dead persons has not.
 
What more important property does a man have than his reputation and legacy?
 
Defamatory speech leveled against the living is not protected by the First Amendment - and given the harm that it causes the survivors of the dead, defamatory speech against dead people should not be protected, either.
 
Criminal libel statutes had been in place to protect the legacies of the dead, but these largely have been repealed. California’s criminal libel statute was held unconstitutional by case law in Garrison v. Louisiana ([1965] 379 U.S. 64). So, we are left with a terrible situation, even a president can be called a murderer without anyone being held to suffer the consequences.
 
An anti-defamation law for the deceased is long overdue.

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