A local township and PD have been sued in Federal court by a woman who claims to have been wronged by them. The township solicitor decided to comment in a follow-up article, claiming they are disappointed by the fact that the newspaper publicly reported said lawsuit and included information regarding the officers alleged actions. He goes on to say that the township supervisors do not want the "reading public" to accept such allegations as fact, and they deny any and all wrongdoing. The comment I plan to publish will undoubtedly open the public eye to a lot of evidence supporting the allegations made by the plaintiff, all based on fact both in print and personal experience. Id like an experienced attorney to read it before I publish it. Is this possible? Someone has to make a stand.
Yes you can but it must be based on fact and you should not post any information that is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit or criminal charge
All information provided in this comment is intended for informational purposes only and does not, by itself, create an attorney client relationship. Without the benefit of a personal consultation to explore all of the facts of your legal problem, the information in this posting may be inaccurate and for that reason it should not be relied upon.
Sure. Find on in your area.
But no review will be a shield to being sued, and taking a stand is always a risk, if it were otherwise, everyone would do it.
NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. DO NOT RELY ON ANY ADVICE YOU RECEIVE FROM ME OR ANY OTHER ATTORNEY IN THIS FORUM. Legal advice comes after a complete review of the facts and relevant documents and an expressed (written) agreement of representation that forms attorney-client confidentiality. Neither of these two events can occur in this forum. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. His answers to any Avvo question are rooted in general legal principles--NOT your specific state laws. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this or any other matter.
A police officer is a public figure when on duty and it sounds like this involves a matter of public concern. You therefore, under the doctrine of New York Times v. Sullivan ("the Sullivan doctrine") have a First Amendment right to say anything you like in print, and you cannot be held liable for it, unless you acted with "actual malice," which means you what you said was provable false and you either knew it was false or just didn't care whether it was true or false. It is virtually unheard of for a public figure to win a civil suit for defamation, and many states have "anti-SLAPP" statutes that come down hard on people and corporations who bring bogus lawsuits to intimidate average citizens. In theory, you can't be criminally prosecuted either, but I had a client who criticized a public official (a prosecutor) in print, and the prosecutor dredged a stale, settles traffic charge that carried a minimum week in jail and filed it against my client. My client sued the prosecutor and a cop (who was also behind the retaliation) in federal court for civil rights violations (1st Amendment). After several years and hundreds of attorney hours spent, she collected a six-figure settlement, but it was a rough time for her all the same. Still, all it takes for bad men to prevail is for good men to do nothing.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.What determines Avvo Rating?Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline