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Anti-Defamation Legacy Law Advocates – AdLLaw Initiative

AdLLaw Initiative Photo Card (1)

WE are asking the U.S. Senate to adopt and support The Anti-Defamation Legacy Law Initiative (AdLLaw) (pronounced Ad-Law).  The Initiative’s goal is simple.  It is meant to bring about legislation which will include the deceased among those who, when defamed, can have the same legal protection by giving their family a statute upon which to base a civil cause of action.  We see this law as any other; a possible deterrent for most and a tool for the more serious offenders.

Originally we thought to start with California. The California Courts Judicial Council created a draft Initiative.  Although, prepared for California, the language of the document clearly states our intention. A MoveOn.Org petition has been created, hoping to show our political leaders this is something the people wish to see happen.  We hope it will make deciding to adopt or support the proposed legislation a bipartisan effort.

There is a long list of decedents who have been egregiously defamed throughout history. Trayvon Martin and Michael Jackson are but the latest victims of defamation. Trayvon’s character is determined by gold teeth caps, a hoodie, his age and ethnicity.  His legacy becomes a death made mockery for profit and agenda using a shooting range target and garment created for ridicule, and ratings by way of a death scene photo. 

We are all familiar with the level of unfair media attention heaped upon Michael Jackson in the past; there is no need to reiterate it here. Journalists hid behind freedom of speech in an attempt to destroy Michael Jackson for entertainment and profit. Michael Jackson devoted his life to demonstrating love. He encouraged us to change the world. There is no better way to honor Michael than to make positive changes wherever we can. One of the ways we can make an important difference is to work for a law to be passed that makes it illegal to defame the dead. 

The freedom of speech is a right that we all enjoy in the United States, and to lose any part of that freedom would be a travesty. However, with freedom comes responsibility. Each of us has a duty to be honest, fair, and balanced in what we say. Journalists, those from whom the masses get their information, should he held to an even higher standard. It is ugly enough to attack someone while they are here, but to continue to promote old lies, innuendo, and hate once they can no longer speak for themselves is reprehensible.

It is because of these men such as Trayvon Martin and Michael Jackson that we decided to turn this into a National effort, finding the longer it is delayed the worse the situation becomes. We believe the AdLLaw Initiative is important.  We hold dear our First Amendment rights, but there is nothing in our Constitution about slander being a right or an acceptable example to set for our children.

We were working to have California Civil Code §§ 44-48 revise the definition of who can be defamed to include “a natural person whether living or dead”.  An initiative measure was been written by the Judicial Counsel (Initiative: Libel or Slander: Decedents – #1212737).

The proposed statutory written for the Anti-Defamation Legacy Law Advocates by the California Legislative Counsel on July 13, 2012

Diane F. Boyer-Vine, Legislative Counsel

By: Aliza Rachel Kaliski, Deputy Legislative Counsel

The proposed statutory:

SECTION 1. Section 44 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

44. (a) Defamation is effected by either of the following:

(a)

(1) Libel.

(b)

(2) Slander.

(b) (1) Defamation of a person may occur whether that person is living or deceased.

(2) An action for defamation of a deceased person may be brought by any individual who would be entitled to succeed to any portion of the deceased person’s estate that passes under Chapter I (commencing with Section 6400) of Part 2 of Division 6 of the Probate Code, or its successor. A defamation action shall not be brought for defamation of a deceased person occurring more than 70 years after the death of the person.

SEC. 2. This measure may be amended to further its purposes by a statute, passed in each house of the Legislature by rollcall vote entered in the journal, two-thirds of the membership concurring, and signed by the Govemor.

AdLLaw Initiative Petition to U.S. Senate and President

Posted by: The Ant-Defamation Legacy Law Advocates

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2013 in Advocacy, Initiatives

 

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Deceased Victims of Slander/Libel/Exploitation (2)

Steven Paul “Steve” Jobs

Steve JobsSteven Paul “Steve” Jobs (/ˈɒbz/; February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)[5][6] was an American entrepreneur[7] and inventor,[8] best known as the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. Through Apple, he was widely recognized as a charismatic pioneer of the personal computer revolution[9][10] and for his influential career in the computer and consumer electronics fields, transforming “one industry after another, from computers and smartphones to music and movies…”[11] Jobs also co-founded and served as chief executive of Pixar Animation Studios; he became a member of the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company in 2006, when Disney acquired Pixar.

Westboro Baptist Church to protest Steve Jobs’ funeral

The Kansas-based organization, which has protested memorials of everyone from victims of gay bashings to those killed in the 2006 Sago Mine disaster — often times with signs stating “God Hates Fags” — has called for “no peace” for Jobs.  Westboro to Picket Steve Jobs Funeral (It Said Via iPhone)

The church, which has become famous for its unofficial “God Hates Fags” slogan, has been at the center of many controversial pickets in recent years, including sending congregation members to protest at the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards. The church also threatened to picket the funerals of those killed in the Arizona shootings, an act many found particularly distasteful. Those plans were later abandonedWestboro Baptist Church Leader, Margie J. Phelps, Tweets Picket Of Steve Jobs Funeral From An iPhone    CBS Article

 

Lyndon Baine Johnson – 36th President of the United States

Lyndon B. JohnsonLyndon Baines Johnson (August 27, 1908 – January 22, 1973), often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States (1963–1969), a position he assumed after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States (1961–1963).

He is one of only four people who served in all four elected federal offices of the United States: Representative, Senator, Vice President, and President.

In October 2003, Barr McClellan published Blood, Money & Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K.. As its title suggests, the book makes an astounding claim that former President Lyndon Johnson, and other deceased officials and persons, were involved in a conspiracy to murder President Kennedy.

This claim is patently absurd. Yet according to the New York Times, over 75,000 copies of the book have been sold.  Defaming The Dead: A Legal Remedy for Absurd Charges That LBJ Murdered JFK

 

Errol Flynn – Actor

Errol FlynnErrol Flynn was an Australian actor, known for his romantic swashbuckler roles in Hollywood films and his flamboyant lifestyle. He has been accused of being a Nazi, a Communist, a murderer, having sex with underage girls, a diamond smuggler and a crooked cock fight person among other things.

Flynn biographer Charles Higham claims his research shows the dashing actor’s espionage for the Germans led to hundreds dying in concentration camps. The disturbing claims angered many in the actor’s birthplace of Tasmania, Australia, including his daughter Rory and grandson Sean. Did Hitler recruit Errol Flynn as a spy for the Nazis?

The actor, Errol Flynn was called a homosexual and a Nazi spy in a book published by Dell Publishing Company. In a lawsuit filed by his children, the court stated plainly, “A libel on the memory of a deceased person is not deemed to inflict on the surviving relatives any such legal damage as will sustain a civil action for defamation.” Flynn v Higham, (1983) 149 Cal.App.3d 677

On July 10, 1981, plaintiffs filed a complaint captioned defamation of character against Charles Higham (author of the book Errol Flynn the Untold Story), Dell Publishing Company (publisher of the same book) and various Does (hereinafter collectively referred to as defendants). The complaint stated that the defendants defamed the plaintiffs by writing that their deceased father was a homosexual and a Nazi spy.  Rory and Deirdre Flynn     Judgment based on this case as being too harsh or unconstitutional (Angie Dickinson)

 

Jack Rose – 

LIBEL OF RELATIVES OF A DECEASED PERSON

Defendant newspaper published an article concerning the death of the plaintiff’s father and husband erroneously identifying him as a notorious murderer. The plaintiffs, who were mentioned only as the surviving wife and children of the deceased, sued to recover damages for injuries to their reputations. Held, no recovery. Rose v.Daily Mirror, Inc., 31 N. E. (2d) 182 (N. Y. 1940).

Most jurisdictions deny recovery by anyone for libel of the memory of a deceased.

The court ruled that the statements made by the newspaper had no “direct reflection” on the family members, although they were named. Therefore, they could not receive damages. Interestingly, the court noted that the state’s legislature had the duty to change the law. Rose v Daily Mirror, Inc. (1940) 284 N.Y. 335   Repository Law, Indiana

The New York Court of Appeals refused to allow the survivors of a defamed decedent to recover against a newspaper because the newspaper’s admittedly defamatory statements concerning the deceased made “no direct reflection” upon the surviving plaintiffs.46 The case had arisen out of an article in which the defendant erroneously identified the recently deceased Jack Rose with “Baldly Jack Rose” a “self-confessed murderer.”47 Presumably because of the rule on the defamation of the dead, Jack Rose’s survivors—whom the article had named—sued the newspaper on their own behalf.48 But the court held that to allow the survivors to recover for defamation of the dead in this situation would be a “far-reaching” departure from New York’s long-standing law.49  Fordham Publications

46. See Rose v. Daily Mirror, Inc., 284 N.Y. 335,337 (1940); Other jurisdictions have adopted a similar test relating to the direct reflection on surviving plaintiffs. See, e.g., Curtis v. The Evening News Assoc., 135 Mich. App. 101,103. (Ct. App. 1984) (holding that the plaintiff could not recover for defamation arising out of an article that falsely stated that plaintiffs dead son had a criminal character); Hughes v. The New England Newspaper Publ’g Co., 43 N.E.2d 657,657-8 (Mass. 1942) (holding that the decedent’s wife could not recover against a newspaper for defamation arising out of an article on the suicide of the decedent because the article was not directed against her even though it identified her as the decedent’s spouse); Lee v. Weston, 402 N.E.2d 23,26 (Ind. Ct. App. 1980) (holding that the decedent’s parents could not recover for defamation of their son for defendant medical examiner’s statement that their son died of “overdose” because the statement did not reflect upon them, even though their son did live with them); Lambert v. Garlo, 484 N.E.2d 260,262 (Ohio Ct. App. 1985) (holding that decedent’s relatives could not recover for defamation against coroner and newspaper publisher for the statement that the former made in the latter’s newspaper that the decedent was clearly a “pusher” because the plaintiffs were not directly injured by the statements that did not name or refer to them).

 

California CADEFLAW Petition

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Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Advocacy

 

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