Redding, CA asked in Criminal Law, Libel & Slander and Domestic Violence for California

Q: Today the local News made a false post listing my spouse as a violent sexual offender. He has never had a sex charge.

He was sentenced yesterday to 20 yrs for domestic violence, I am the victim. Labeling him as a sex offender carries a huge risk for his safety, as well as my own. Is there any recourse?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If it is a matter of public concern (as it seems to be) there are constitutional considerations. The statement would have to have been made with actual malice. It must also be provably false and that the news company either (1) knew it was false or (2) had a reckless disregard for its truth or falsity. See New York Times v. Sullivan (1964).

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