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DEFAMATION: NO REDRESS FOR THE DEAD

DEFAMATION: NO REDRESS FOR THE DEAD

When you’re alive, if someone makes false statements about you that aren’t true – and in some cases, if true but it can be proved that such statements have been made with malice – this is called defamation of character. Defamation is ugly. It has the potential not only to destroy your reputation, but your family and your livelihood, too. Quite frankly, words are akin to weapons that have the ability to make or break your life. Thankfully, those with enough money and a good, solid case, have the ability to sue for libel (if the offending words are written) or slander (if the words have been disseminated orally).

When you die, however, you lose that ability to seek redress. You may think those rights are now passed onto your family or Estate, but they’re not. Once you’re dead, anything can be written or said about you without consequences. And all it takes is the circulation of one lie to ruin your good name.

Celebrities are often subject to libel in the tabloid press. But libel and slander aren’t simply the preserve of the rich and famous. Every day, courts are dealing with the maligned reputations of ordinary individuals and/or businesses small and large. Some lose their jobs, their friends, their families, their health and well-being, all due to the effects of defamation. Some resort to legal redress, while others feel that seeking such redress will only add fuel to the fire. But the common factor is that – with enough money and stamina – celebrity or not, one can seek legal redress.

But this is not the case when you die. A lie about you may surface and spread. This time, nothing can be done about it because you’re no longer here to defend yourself, and your family can’t go after the individual(s) responsible because there are no defamation rights for the deceased. Now your good name is forever tarnished and your family has to deal with the aftermath. You may have children or a significant other who have to navigate through the mire of injustice, or the company you left behind might be wound up because nobody wants to do business with something you were associated with any more. The countless possibilities of how it might affect all those who knew and loved you are profound. These situations happen more frequently than you think.

 

Now, imagine if there was a law that could extend defamation protection to your family and Estate after you die….

Will you support the AdLLaw Initiative by signing the global petition and sharing with your family and friends.

 

Dee Pfeiffer, Professional freelance writer and editor based in the heart of the UK, MJL Trustee

Acil Leitz, Advocate

 

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AdLLaw: Speak Up

AdLLaw: Speak Up

By now; you will all be painfully aware of the terrible stories in the media today, each one of them from Conrad Murray as “advertisement” from his up-coming book. I felt it important to get online and address this right away.

This is again another form of defamation against Michael Jackson. Under normal circumstances, steps could be taken to put a stop to Conrad Murray’s actions with a cease and desist order. In addition; there would be legal ways to stop his book being published. But sadly, these are not normal circumstances because Michael Jackson is deceased.

Current defamation laws mean that the deceased have no legal protection from slander in its various forms.

As the situation currently stands; no legal action can be brought against Conrad Murray except under the following circumstances:

1) He mentions Michael’s children/family in his book and subsequent press releases (today’s article already mentions Paris Jackson.)
2.) He talks in detail about Michael’s private medical history.

Those are the occasions where Michael’s family and his Estate can start civil proceedings against him. Other than that; our hands are tied.

But why is he doing this? Yes; we could all surmise that indeed Conrad Murray is a person of the lowest order; determined to make money off the man he killed as a result of his negligence. And yes; this appears to be very much the case. But let’s look at this in detail and bring in other issues and stories circling around Michael at this current time.

Let’s cast our minds back to the very public 2005 molestation trial against Michael Jackson and in particular to the media coverage. As Tom Mesereau mentioned; the media were hell bent on reporting every single lurid detail in the prosecution’s favor. During cross-examination by the prosecution, they practically broke their necks to get out of the court room to report every single account – never waiting for the rebuttal from the defense. Michael was very much tried not just in a court of law but in the court of public opinion. Day after day; various media outlets screamed headlines of a “sick, twisted child molester” with a “dark and perverted side.” The facts of the case were completely ignored. Evidence presented in court was twisted to portray Michael as a criminal, long before any closing arguments had begun. The media all but said that Michael was guilty from day one and were ready to throw him in jail right from the very start.

Why would the media portray an innocent man in such a dark light? It all goes back to what Michael himself has said many times while he was alive. The media will only write about negative things because that’s what sells a story. A headline screaming “MICHAEL JACKSON MOLESTED BOYS!!” is far more eye-catching than “MICHAEL JACKSON SAVES BOY’S LIFE.” Human beings are curious by nature – and the media rely on this to pique their interest. Doesn’t everybody love a good scandal? It’s rather like a gritty soap opera, except the characters depicted are real.

It is a fact that the media were reporting these stories in order to sway public opinion. They WANTED Michael to be guilty of the crimes alleged; despite all the evidence and ambiguities in his favor. Imagine how much money they would make if Michael had have been guilty! They’d have enough material to sell stories for the next 10 years and beyond. And the dollars would just keep rolling in. So many people would have gotten rich off this! Shake down – and Michael Jackson is the target.

So why are all these stories coming out now?

Next year sees the civil suit of Wade Robson & Jimmy Safechuck. Their legal teams are already preparing their case as we’ve seen in recent reports. Many of the articles we have seen have been published by media outlets who are in SUPPORT of WR & JS. Now I want to make it ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that I am in no way dismissing those who have genuinely suffered some form of child abuse. Not at all. What I am against; are those who make up a lie purely for cash and that is what we are seeing here.

But these stories are history repeating itself. Yet again; the media have tried, convicted and hung Michael Jackson this time before the case has even made it to the court room. Like WR & JS; the media are counting of two possible outcomes:

1) That the smear campaign levelled against Michael Jackson will force the Estate of Michael Jackson to settle out of court. Let’s remember the stick Michael got in 1993 when he settled (against his will I might add). The media called it an admission of guilt – and this is echoed today in their continuing reports on the matter. Should the Estate choose to settle; this again could be construed as an admission of guilt and with that; the media will have a field day.

2) Public opinion is swayed so the court find in WR & JS favor. Again; that would point to Michael being guilty.

In short; both scenarios are a win-win situation in terms of the media and all those hoping to profit from lies.

Unfortunately for WR & JS; the MJ Estate aren’t biting. Wade Robson is playing a game of “throw me millions of dollars and I’ll go away.” The Estate has responded with “we’ll see you in court.” They are determined that WR isn’t getting a single dime for a lie. Would they have settled if Michael was still alive? Probably not. Michael repeatedly said he wanted his day in court and the fact that it was his INSURERS who paid the settlement to the Chandlers, confirms that.

Speak UP 6Let’s also cast our mind back to the various legal suits brought against those who printed lies about Michael. The infamous National Enquirer suit for example. Diane Dimond herself ran with a story of there being a video tape of Michael molesting a child. No such tape of course existed. Michael sued both her and Victor Gutierrez and won. Gutierrez declared himself bankrupt and move to Chile. (I should point out that the reason for many of Michael’s debts was because of these civil suits – particularly around the 2003 allegations.)

This time however it’s different. Michael cannot sue for damages because he’s no longer with us. This means it’s a feeding frenzy for the media. They can write whatever they like about him and get away with it….and that leads me to Conrad Murray….(you were probably wondering when I was going to get to that!)

Enter Conrad Murray – whose tell-all book is to be released on 29th July. Hello! Timing? Of course it is no accident that his publishers choose right now to release it. Neither is it an accident that he decides to contact the media with delicious tidbits of his “story”. WR and JS have already whetted the appetite of the gossip mongers and the hateful “con-Michael Jackson” groups. Murray has rubbed his hands together in glee and brought out the main course. It’s so easy to make money off Michael when he’s already in the news. All Murray has to do is sit back, wait for the book to be released and watch the money come rolling in. And even better; there is not one thing anybody can do to stop him!

So why am I telling you all this?

The actions of Conrad Murray and the fact that he’s clearly piggy-backing off the WR & JS case is a classic demonstration of why the defamation laws need to change. And this is just the start. We have several other books coming out about Michael’s private life. Why do you think these unscrupulous people have waited until Michael’s death to unleash their stories? Floodgates have opened and there is no dam to stop them. And as we edge closer to Murray’s book release AND the WR civil suit next year; the stories are going to become more and more toxic. We haven’t seen anything yet. Right now; Michael Jackson is easy money – and everybody wants a piece of him.

As Tom Mesereau said: “Why work when you can sue Michael Jackson?” Or write a book about him; I shall add.

The AdLLaw Initiative is needed now more than ever. Power needs to be given back to the deceased to stop their legacy from being ruined at the hands of those who will stop at nothing to make a profit. You cannot ignore these stories and pretend they don’t exist. With every passing week; the stories are getting more and more damaging. The media have unleashed a tirade of slander to whip the public into a frenzy. It is spreading like an aggressive cancer and the only way to stop it is to cut it out.

Signing the AdLLaw petition takes only ONE MINUTE of your time. That’s all. It doesn’t cost a penny. You won’t get spammed out with various emails. You’re not signing up for anything which has an ulterior motive. All you are doing is raising your voice and saying “ENOUGH!” to the lies. We need as many signatures as we can possibly get to get the defamation laws changed. Not just thousands but millions! It truly is the ONLY way we can stop this. Not just for Michael either but for every single deceased person who has or is suffering defamation in death. They don’t have to be famous or in the public eye. It can happen to ANYBODY and EVERYBODY. It could even happen to you!

The link to the global petition is below. Will you add your name to it? And please don’t forget to share it as well! The more people who sigh, the more congress will take notice and make that much-needed change to the law!

AdLLaw Global Petition

 

Submitted by: Kerry Ward, MDF Admin – July 18, 2016

 

 

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CELEBRITIES AND ADLLAW

CELEBRITIES AND ADLLAW

Celebrities and AdLLawThe other day I received a communication that moved me to write this column. The communication wondered why celebrities are prominently mentioned in AdLLaw’s mission to protect the deceased from defamation. Actually, it went beyond wondering why celebrities are included; it went so far as to suggest that celebrities should be excluded. The recommendation was that our focus should be on the average citizen with whom the masses can identify.

AdLLaw uses many people as examples of those who are being defamed after they have passed on. Celebrity examples include Betty Ford, Michael Jackson, Steve Jobs, Whitney Houston, and Amy Winehouse. We also have in our materials records of a young woman who was killed in a terrible car accident whose family endured seeing vile and horrific information being spread on the Internet about their relative.

Read more here: http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=3872556&page=1

We have information on U.S. soldiers whose funerals were picketed by a religious group that used the funerals as a platform to spread their bigotry and hate. The group picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers is not aiming their hate at the individual; however, their actions are mentioned in our materials because they bring hardship to the families of the soldiers in the form of added grief and suffering. One father did try to sue for damages, citing, among other things, the intentional infliction of emotional distress. See more here:

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/36449471/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/dad-sues-thank-god-dead-soldiers-church/#.VUD_qiFViko

Above are listed just a few examples of the defamation of those who are deceased. They range from the most high-profile celebrities to soldiers fighting for our country to anonymous citizens living their private lives. Defamation can touch anyone, and while there is truth in the fact that most people do not know a celebrity and cannot relate to their lifestyles, we can all identify who they are. For that reason, when they are defamed we are more aware and more attention is given.

Several years ago. Dale Earnhardt, a NASCAR icon, was killed in a shocking accident while racing at Daytona (Florida). The accident happened on live television during the race broadcast. Millions of people saw it play out in their living rooms. Dale Earnhardt was a name so synonymous with the sport that almost everyone could identify him. There was a tremendous amount of coverage of his life and death, and the public outpouring of grief and emotion was incredible. My local radio station had a discussion about the event, and people called in commenting on how wrong it was to feel grief for this man who was killed when the focus of our sorrow should be on our troops. I don’t normally call in to talk shows; however, in this instance I did. I was one of those who saw this horrible accident happen. I explained that when people can put a face to a name, and when they see a tragedy happen in real time, it affects them on a different level. People could identify with what happened. It did not mean there was no sorrow for our fallen troops, but the masses do not have faces to put with a soldier who has died, and they don’t see war played out live in their living rooms. That was why there was so much public grief for Mr. Earnhardt: people could relate.

I use the Dale Earnhardt example to explain why celebrities are a part of the AdLLaw campaign. People are aware of the stories of celebrities and may be outraged at the treatment a celebrity receives in the media. One of the problems with the media is the assumption that celebrities cease to be human once they are famous. A celebrity is still a person…they have lives to live; they have feelings; they have loved ones; they deal with the normal issues of being a human being. They deserve the same respect that any human should receive. That is why they are included in AdLLaw’s mission. Not because they are famous, but because they are human.

People are more aware of the treatment Michael Jackson received in the media than they are of the treatment of Nicole Catsouras, the young woman killed in the car accident. The grief endured by the family of Ms. Catsouras is no less important than the grief endured by the family of Mr. Jackson; it is simply that the masses are more aware of Mr. Jackson’s plight.

The goal of AdLLaw is to change the law nationally so that a family can sue for damages when their deceased loved one is defamed. While living, a defamed person can seek relief for themselves in a court of law for slander and libel. However, at the point of death, current law considers the person to no longer exist. That leaves the gates wide open for anyone to maliciously report untrue “information” about the deceased without fear of repercussions. AdLLaw believes that a person lives on in his or her legacy and reputation. When a person, famous or anonymous, is defamed after they are gone, their loved ones should have a way to seek relief in a court of law.

Perhaps when AdLLaw is successful in its mission, we will be one step closer to becoming a kinder and gentler society. Maybe respect and honor will be restored in our media. There might be a return to integrity in reporting and to thought put into words before they are spoken or written — not just in the media, but by each individual also.

The following video sums up why celebrities are included in this initiative. We are all people; we are all a part of the human race. Regardless of our social status, race, sexual orientation, nationality, political affiliation, or religious belief, we are all people — with the same right to dignity and respect after we have passed on. Watch the video here: http://video.foxnews.com/v/3934406/huckabees-opinion/?#sp=show-clips

AdLLaw’s mission is not to curtail freedom of speech, but to hold people accountable for their words. We believe this initiative and our fundamental right to free speech can coexist. To learn more about AdLLaw, please visit us at https://antidefamationlegacylawadvocates.org/2013/10/22/whats-so-special-about-the-adllaw-initiative-and-petition/

Support the #AdLLawInitiative by signing the PETITION

Edited and Republished by: MJ Brookins

Original story posted here:   http://thejamcafe-mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.org/issue/may-issue/article/celebrities-and-AdLLaw

May Issue, ADLLAW – Celebrities and AdLLaw

By Barbara Owens,Journalist and AdLLaw secretary –  Thu, May 31, 2012

 

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Where is the Justice?: Defaming the Dead

Where Is The Justice photo #1

If you are familiar with our Blogs, articles and videos where we explain the ways defamation affects a decedent’s legacy, hold on we have more information to share with you. If you are new to the AdLLaw Petition Initiative Blog, check below, there are links which will offer you other material.

This is our most comprehensive argument. Don’t worry, this is easy.

We are a society which has embraced more causes and the use of the Petition than any before us. Our inclusion in causes and signing the associated Petitions announce we are against crimes of bullying which produce physical and emotional harm, abuse of the helpless; the elderly; adults; children and animals. We say we diligently work to eradicate the many forms of discrimination and to see there is legal and social equality.

Due to televised Court Trials we are now third-party participants. We investigate and analyze testimony and evidence, make personal judgments, and we socially punish those we believe guilty and reward those believed innocent regardless of the jury’s verdict. We also discuss or work to change or add laws which we believe are not clear or comprehensive enough to insure there is justice for the victim, accuser or accused

When deciding on a crime which would frame this discussion there were many to select from. The two most powerful was theft and the crime of discrimination. Because, we have written several articles on how defamation robs a decedent of their legacy and their survivors of peace of mind, I settled on discrimination.

Where Is The Justice photo #2

Ok….. Moving on to “discrimination”, but first let’s lay to rest the fallacy that says a deceased person is no longer relevant and therefore, there is no need for this Anti-Defamation Initiative. The law says: A deceased person through their heirs or Estate will continue to pay taxes on investments or property they acquired. This makes them relevant.

If a decedent’s words and actions while alive are admissible as witness testimony or establishes eligibility to become a co-defendant then they are very relevant.

 If the law says a decedent is accountable for slander committed when alive then the decedent is highly relevant.

The words, previous actions and perceived character of a decedent are most relevant. It is those areas considered when determining which laws apply and recommending monetary judgments for or against them.

Discrimination and the Law:

Picture a person killed either by accident or with intent.  Are our laws to discriminate when it comes to seeking justice, because, they are persons who come from wealth, poverty, have body piercings, are famous or not, fashionable, heterosexual or gay, has tattoos or trousers worn very low?  Should justice be according to whom has a likable or unlikable personality, attended Prep School or no school, acted sober or silly, or someone whose religion, culture, physical features or manner-of-speech is in the minority? No our laws should not discriminate when it comes to the alleged victim and criminal, and their equal rights to justice.

Now …….For our BIG finale: Another excuse for not enacting this law is; “laws are for governing the living.”  AdLLaw will govern the living. Just as with any law it is first designed as a deterrent against unlawful activities and at last resort a tool to deal with crimes committed; in this case people who practice slander and become enriched through their crimes. It is for the survivors who have to bear the brunt of possible character assassination due to familial ties with the defamed decedent, and whose revenue or social status declines due to that defamation.

See, told you AdLLaw was for the living, that wasn’t hard at all now was it!

 Oh,…I almost forgot, if making it illegal to slander the dead would rob us of our First Amendment Rights then slander laws for the living would not exist either!

Where Is The Justice photo #3

If you think this discrimination which allows defamation of a decedent to go unchallenged is wrong then help do something to change that. If you think it is wrong to sue a decedent through their survivors or Estate, but not the other way around then help create the law which will change it. If a deceased person is “relevant” enough for all the above then they are “relevant” enough to have a law which protects them and their legacy from slander.

CHANGE IT. What’s sauce for one is …..Well, you know the rest. AdLLaw 

(Anti-Defamation Legacy Law)

Where Is The Justice photo #4

Sign The Petition

Contact Your U.S. Senators  Ask them to endorse the initiative

Contact the President. Ask him to endorse the initiative.

Contact family & friends. Ask them to do the same.

Check out our other material on this subject:

https://antidefamationlegacylawadvocates.org/2014/08/10/who-said-the-dead-cant-be-sued-for-defaming-the-living/

https://antidefamationlegacylawadvocates.org/2014/08/06/deceased-on-trial/

https://antidefamationlegacylawadvocates.org/2014/08/04/a-legacy-everyone-will-have-one-like-it-or-not/

S. Kendrick – a.k.a. Dial Dancer

 

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A Legacy: “Everyone Will Have One Like It Or Not”

A person’s Legacy has much in common with a tree.  Some will be saplings others aged oak, but all can continue to grow and provide long after the person tending it has gone.

Each must weather their own type of elemental disturbances, endure tests of enforced glut and drought to insure they can thrive and survive.  When healthy, both can provide physical and emotional shelter and support during life’s torrents.  Seed from them can be the beginning of the new.  Depending upon need, both may be a social and economic mainstay; a source of creativity, inspiration, teaching and a way of validating an existence.

A Legacy like mature trees will bear varied fruits.  Drawing from an achievement, contribution or even a misstep will be according to a user’s specific objectives, ties, goals, tastes and intent.  

Each of us will leave something behind when we die, something you alone touched, so when people look upon it or think of you, you are there.

A Legacy Everyone Will Have Photo

You will be etched into the minds of others through the stories they share about you, pass on and hand down which becomes part of your Legacy.  You may diligently build your Legacy with the future in mind or be absent minded in its care, or unaware how significant it can be and to whom, but it is yours to fashion and the stories shared should be told according to your words and deeds, and none other.

Like with trees the unprincipled destruction of a Legacy robs future generations of its potential benefits.

There is no law against defaming the dead, and with that there is no way to protect their Legacy from being depreciated. Decedents can be sued through their representatives for defamation committed while alive and have a judgment placed against their Estate. The reverse is not possible.

To keep the unprincipled from vandalizing a Legacy and robbing those who can gain from it there must be a law to help protect the deceased from defamation and having the Legacy wrongly characterized.

Please support the CadeFlaw/AdLLaw Petition Initiative.  There are many laws which protect the deceased as they do the living against theft, except one, defamation.  Let’s change that.

Support Goals:

To have each supporter sign the petition. Contact your Senate Representatives and the President. Let each know you approve of this proposed law and wish them to endorse it as well. Make them aware of the Initiative by sending them the link to the petition which has the purpose and requirements plainly written out. Pass this information on to family, friends and associates and ask them to support as well. 

The Petition

Contact State Senators

Contact U.S. President

Photos from:  http://www.clker.com, www.thisoldyard.net,

Submitted By: S. Kendrick – a.k.a. Dial Dancer

 
 

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Here Comes The Thief

You look up and see a thief. He is boldly walking up to your neighbor’s door. Maybe he intends to sneak through the back door. He is well known by many and by many names. You know either he intends to use guile to talk his way in or break into their house so he can steal a most prize possession from them.

Here Comes The Thief Photo 1

You have heard and read stories where he has stolen from others before.  Stories which tell of the emotional, mental, social and sometimes financial devastation left in his wake.   You know that for some strange reason he has the law on his side.  He legally has the right to steal.

Here Comes The Thief Photo 2

What can you do?  What will you do?   Will you ignore the situation, because it is not your house and therefore not your problem, or will you try to help a neighbor?  What will you do to help protect a decedent’s legacy and the sanity of their survivors from defaming the dead?

Here Comes The Thief Photo 3

You could sign a petition which makes it illegal to defame the dead.  A petition which if made law will give the survivors of a defamed decedent the right to address slander of the dead in a court of law.   Give the decedent’s survivors the right to have the slanderer stand before the courts and prove what they say with evidence or recant any falsehoods and pay for damages.

Here Comes The Thief Photo 4

THE PETITION:        http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/protect-the-legacy-of

CONTACT YOUR US REPRESENTATIVE AND ASK FOR THEIR SUPPORT:     http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

CONTACT THE PRESIDENT & ASK FOR HIS SUPPORT:      http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/write-or-call#write

S. Kendrick, Resolution Specialist – a.k.a. Dial Dancer

 

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