The Privilege For False Privilege Essay

1597 Words Sep 29th, 2016 7 Pages
1. Does the absolute privilege for statements made in judicial proceedings protect defamatory statements made in letters to a judge submitted into evidence at a criminal trial?

2. Does the qualified privilege to publish to someone who shares a common interest or in defense of the interest of others apply when a party in a criminal matter solicited individuals to submit letters to a judge attesting to the party’s character?

II. Brief Answers

1. Likely yes. Because the statements were related to judicial proceedings, and there was an opportunity to challenge the veracity of the statements, any defamatory statements contained therein are likely protected by the absolute privilege for statements made in judicial proceedings.

2. Perhaps. It is likely that a court will find that the qualified privilege is applicable, but the plaintiff will then have the opportunity to argue that the privilege was abused to the fact-finder.

III. Discussion

A defendant in a defamation suit may assert a qualified, conditional, or an absolute privilege as a defense to liability in a defamation action. Gohari v. Darvish, 363 Md. 42, 55, 55 n.13 (2001).

A. The Absolute Privilege for Statements Made in a Judicial Proceeding.

The application of the privilege for statements made in a judicial proceeding applies differently depending on whether the alleged tortfeasor is a witness, party, judge, or an attorney of record in the case. “For witnesses, parties, and judges, we employ the ‘English’ rule,…

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