does this count as slander per se?

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does this count as slander per se?

If you knew a criminal who goes unreported, can you legally make a publicized statement without identifying them but making references only people familiar with the criminal would recognize? Technically, you are not identifying an individual or group if you refrain from profiling. The idea is to reference specific actions taken as in “If you know someone who did such and such on this day, take caution for there have been several unreported claims from victims that such and such crime was committed. Would this protect the publisher of the statement from possible suit for slander?

Asked on May 25, 2009 under Personal Injury, New Jersey

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

No, this would not protect you at all.  If you make the statement in a way that people can figure out who you're talking about, you can still be held liable for slander, it just makes it a little more involved to prove at trial.

You really need to discuss this in complete detail -- names, dates, places, all of the facts -- with a qualified lawyer in your area.  Even if the lawyer doesn't take your case, or do anything to help you, but only listens, he or she is ethically bound to keep what you tell them in confidence, with only the most extremely limited exceptions such as if you were to tell the lawyer that you were going to kill someone.  One place to look for an attorney is our website, http://attorneypages.com -- and there should be a number in your telephone book for your county's bar association lawyer referral service.


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