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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 15096
Experience:  18 yrs of NYS criminal defense. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I need to know what I can publicly say to news, media, etc

Resolved Question:

I need to know what I can publicly say to news, media, etc and protect myself but tell my story. My son went to a toddler camp, I picked him up and he was bruised black and blue on his back, butt, legs, groin and I'm pressing charges. I'm taking the case to our local news and papers, what can I say, what can't I say?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 10 months ago.
Hi Jacustomer,

Without knowing the story and what you want to protect yourself from, it's not possible to answer this question. Please use the reply tab below and flesh this out so that I will understand your concerns. Don't use names or personal identifiers if you are concerned with what can be said publicly, since this site is not confidential.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Ok, I filed charges, and the police say they can't do anything, the attorney has been reviewing my case for over a month and will not contact me, CPS and DHS say they can't help because its a unlicensed business; there are other parents also trying to press charges against this same camp for injuries to their toddler. SO, we are taking the story to the local news tv/radio/and papers so that t least other parents can be aware, but when doing so, what do I need to be careful of saying, as the camp has not yet been taken to court. I don't want to be responsible for slander charges for trying to tell my story and warn the public. Am I okay to tell my story, with any social media, as long as I don't attach a persons name to the fault or the actual business name? Or can I use the business name? And what other things can I say or more importantly what can I NOT say so that I protect myself from being charged with slander of persons/business
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 10 months ago.

Hello Tiffany,

Sorry for the delay, but I have been cooking my dinner.

Why not consider banding together with the other parents whose children have been abused and suing the school civilly? That way the story comes out in an arena where you are protected, and you can alert the media once the case has begun.

Truth is an absolute defense to a slander or libel charge. That doesn't mean, of course, that they cannot sue you for defamation, only that if your evidence is stronger than theirs you win.

Involving the media but not revailing the agency you are talking about warns nobody, and what you say loses effect if you don't take what legal action you can.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
It's not a school, it's a one woman company and unlicensed we found out. She claimed she was, but DHS cleared she is not. I tried to go civil, but sense it's already been assigned to a prosecutor, they said they can't touch the case now as far as the criminal part of the case. So, I'm not rely understanding, I don't need to worry about slander as long as I have enough evidence to back up what I say? Also, we could use close words to the name of the business, without using the exact name, because this is a VERY small place, and there isn't really another camp that does this program.
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 10 months ago.

Thanks for clarifying, I assumed this was a school.

If the case is already assigned to a prosecutor then it will be prosecuted. Then what you would have to do is make sure you give whatever evidence you have and the names of whatever other witnesses you have to further their case and help you prepare it. But there is no reason that you couldn't sue just because the prosecutor is contemplating the pressing of charges.

Bringing criminal charges does not exclude bringing a civil suit, because the two courts are about different things. Civil court will make you whole financially and could pay damages as well if the evidence supports that. Criminal is simply about punishing this woman for a wrongdoing.

In any case, here are the elements of a defamation suit in Hawaii. All four of the following elements are what this woman would have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence in order to find you guilty of slander:

(a) that you made a false and defamatory statement concerning another;

(b) that you published (told) the statements to a third party without authority.

(c) that you published them negligently; and

(d) that there was harm caused by the publication.

So if you stick to what you can prove, you can avert a decision for the plaintiff if they sue you for slander. You could also countersue, of course, if you want to wait for them to throw the first legal stone.

Zoey, JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 15096
Experience: 18 yrs of NYS criminal defense. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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