Portland, OR asked in Personal Injury and Libel & Slander for Oregon

Q: is sending a defamatory message a legal offence in Oregon?

A text message that is accusatory of a Federal and State crime(s) but is false is sent to a group of individuals. Factually the accusations are false. It was sent with intention to harm. Has this sender committed:

1 - Offence

2 - Crime

3 - Neither

4 - Both

1 Lawyer Answer
Brad  Holbrook
Brad Holbrook
  • Newberg, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: The question asks essentially, "Whether sending a text message that accuses someone (falsely) of a state and/or federal crime is lawful?" Clearly, if you speak a false statement about someone to a third person(s) in manner that is called "publishing", it is actionable as defamtation of character. If it is a crime, then it is up to the state prosecutor to press criminal charges. You may need to contact the police to make a report which will be forwarded to the District Attorney in your county. In order to be criminal, the action would likely need to be extreme and against a private citizen, not a public figure. However, a text message would be considered libelous is it is sent to a third party that defames another person. A person who is being defamed should immediately request a retraction in the same and/or similiar form as the defamatory statement(s). The best idea is to refrain from making accusations and/or attempting to defame people; however, if you have been defamed, you should seek the advice of counsel if you wish to pursure a remedy for your damages.

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