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Defamation of character How long do you have to file charges? What is needed for proof?

Sahuarita, AZ |

A witness stated he witnessed a sex crime but in court he stated he didn't anything, the victim told him what happen.
The victims dad stated in court the he was a polled that my son would take out his penis and hit his son in the face with it. This incident supposedly happened in the locker room where the dad was not present.
In trial my son was found not guilty. This incident didn't happen. The victim in the case changed his story a number of time and the system let it happen.
This incident affected 7 kids and as of right now my son was the only who went trial and won. I was advised that nothing really happens with defamation of character charges but I could file charge if I wanted. Right now it is the principal of it all. What are my chances?

Attorney Answers 4


All statements, calls and reports law enforcement, and govt boards/agencies/offices as well as statements made during litigation and court proceedings and papers are immune and protected from civil lawsuits. Making false reports is a crime (and filing charges is only for crimes) but only the govt can prosecute crime, you and your son can not. There is no such thing as filing charges for defamation because defamation is a civil cause of action and filing charges is for crimes. As I explained above, your son can not sue any of these people for what they did or said in this context. Your son and his attorney can do their best to bring the falsity to the attention of the DA, and if the DA wants, it can prosecute them for perjury or making false reports, but you guys can not force them.

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Defamation is not a criminal charge, it is a tort in civil law. In other words, the victim can sue someone for it. You should also think about suing for malicious prosecution. It is difficult to predict your chances from your description, but the first step is beating the criminal charges, which your son has done. As for how long you have, the statute of limitation for defamation and malicious prosecution is one year.

All information on this website is not, and is not intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation, as each case is different and contains different facts. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and e-mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until you establish an attorney-client relationship with us.

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Sorry to hear about this. Statements relating to court proceedings are immune from lawsuits. Best to put it behind you, and move on.

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Your chances are pretty close to zero. There is a qualified immunity for discussions with police and a qualified immunity for statements made in court. You have to prove the alleged victim lied to the police or in court. Your son being found "not guilty" does not mean the alleged victim lied; instead, it means that the prosecutor did not prove the case "beyond a reasonable doubt." The fact that it got past a directed verdict means the judge felt there was sufficient evidence to let the jury decide.

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