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Is it illegal for sheriffs offices to leak information about

Resolved Question:

Is it illegal for sheriffs offices to leak information about an investigation that is not completed yet to civilians. About someone who has not been charged with the crime but is a suspect?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 4 years ago.
Hello! Thank you for bringing your question to JustAnswer! I'm T-USA and I'll be happy to provide some valuable information!

I'm sorry to hear about the situation!

I would like to make sure that I know what information you want so that I can ensure that my response addresses the issues you're wondering about.
Can you elaborate a bit more on the nature of the leaked information?

Thank you!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I am a suspect in an arson case. Yesterday I was asked by someone is it was me. I didnt respond and she continued to say I was told by someone who is a mutual friend and knows someone in the sheriffs office that said it was you. I was just wondering if there is something I can do with this information to help my case
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for clarifying!

I am working on an answer to your question now. Please be patient and I will post the answer as soon as possible. This may take a little time, as it may require some research and it takes some time to type up a response.

Thank you!
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 4 years ago.
Unfortunately, the fact that law enforcement releases information regarding an investigation does not defeat or affect the criminal charge that is the subject of the statement. This is true even if the statement is defamatory.

However, it can provide a cause of action for a defendant to file a civil suit to recover monetary damages that result if the statement is defamatory. That wouldn't include statements in which law enforcement asserts that it is investigating somoene. However, if officers assert that someone actually did something and the individual did not do so, there could potentially be a basis for a defamation suit.
A successful defamation plaintiff must typically show that:
1. The defendant made a statement of fact to a third party regarding the plaintiff;
2. The statement was not true;
3. The statement harmed the plaintiff.

I know that this answer may not be entirely what you wanted to hear. However, it's the honest truth and I know you want a truthful answer above all. I rely on your honor to earn my living and I hope that you will click accept so that I am paid for my time and effort spent providing this information. If you don't click accept, I don't get paid anything at all.

If you have a follow-up question, please be sure to ask it using the REPLY feature and I will respond as promptly as possible. In some instances, depending on how long you wait to reply, there may be a delay in my response as I may be taking a necessary break from work.

Thank you again for coming to JustAnswer!
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