is this something that has already happened, or is this something you are concerned about happening in the future?
The nuances vary by jurisdiction, but generally, someone has committed the tort of defamation of character when they make an intentionally false communication, either published or publicly spoken, that injures another's reputation or good name. In other words, if you spread harmful or hurtful lies about someone, you can get sued. In a defamation case, the burden of proof is on the defendant to show that the statements were true.
However, statements made in court are exempt from defamation claims; if the statemetns are being made outside of court's proceedings, a defamation suit may be filed. Therefore, if the court is in recess and the attorney turns to the bailiff to say "this woman neglected her kid", that could be considered defamatory.Let me know if I may be of further assistance. Thank you.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).