By Peter E. Kane
Peter E. Kane takes a serious examine the improvement of the current legislations via a dialogue of seventeen landmark libel cases.One of the numerous issues Kane clarifies is the $64000 contrast among an blunders and a lie while judging even if a person is accountable of libel. for instance, within the sequence of occasions that resulted in Goldwater vs. Ginzburg, Ralph Ginzburg, writer of truth journal, compiled and revealed in truth a montage of charges he had accumulated from psychiatrists approximately Barry Goldwater. It took 5 years of felony sparring for the courts to finish that Ginzburg had intentionally released a malicious and irresponsible rfile and to rule in prefer of Goldwater. Kane closes with a dialogue of present considering on attainable libel reform.
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Additional resources for Errors, Lies, and Libel
The newspaper's false report has punished you, and now you want to get even by making the paper pay you a large sum. Such an award, called punitive damages, is often assessed like the fine that the driver of the truck that hit you might pay for running a red light, but unlike the latter situation involving traffic violations, there is no clear schedule of fines in libel suits. Furthermore, if the newspaper did not knowingly lie or show reckless disregard for the truth or falsehood of what it printed, are punitive damages appropriate?
Where judicial officers are involved, this Court has held that con- Page 26 cern for the dignity and reputation of the courts does not justify the punishment as criminal contempt of criticism of the judge or his decision. . " . . Such repression can be justified, if at all, only by a clear and present danger of the obstruction of justice. . If judges are to be treated as ''men of fortitude, able to thrive in a hardy climate," . . surely the same must be true of other government officials, such as elected city commissioners.
The rule thus dampens the vigor and limits the variety of public debate. It is inconsistent with the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Having thus forcefully rejected the strict liability standard of fault as it had been set forth by the Alabama law and courts, Brennan stated what the standard of fault for a libel action by a public official should be. The constitutional guarantees require, we think, a federal rule that prohibits a public official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with "actual malice"that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.