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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34741
Experience:  16 yrs. of trial experience
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I have been falsely accused of being a drug dealer by my wifes

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I have been falsely accused of being a drug dealer by my wife's ex husband in order to attain custody of their 5 year old girl. The accusation was made by an ex boyfriend that used to be friends with me and was living with her while she was legally separated from her husband during their divorce. The boyfriend was a person who smoked marijuana daily and had me over to smoke with them. While I will admit to smoking pot (he was the one that got me into smoking with him), I never sold drugs. This statement was actually used in the custody court preceding to one of the courts custody evaluators that visited us and the other party to decide custody. The evaluator decided that since I did not make enough money in my job, she could only draw the conclusion that I must be a drug dealer, otherwise how could I be making the rent. Do I have a civil lawsuit against the county for slander?
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

This would be a tough case to bring for several reasons.

Defamation is defined as a false statement communicated to another person that damages your reputation by exposing you to hatred, contempt, or ridicule from other people. Slander is defamation by oral or spoken communication.

There are a number of defenses to the charge of defamation. Most notable is the defense of privilege. A person may have spoken or written the words about you in a privileged way, that is, the law allows certain people to say certain things in certain places without fear of being charged with defamation. For example, public officials, such as city council members, performing their official duties may be protected by the privilege, as are people making statements in judicial or legislative proceedings.

Also, "opinions" are NOT defamation...they are opinions.

So here, the evaluator is, I assume a state employee, is making an in court statement, as required by her job, stating an opinion.

You will not be able to sue successfully for this.

Sorry to have to bear bad news

Please let me know if you have further questions; if so I will do my best to answer them. If not please hit the accept button, its the only way I get credit for my work.

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for the response. I have one final question about this. My wife was on the speaker phone with her ex-husband. When my wife questioned him about taking away a picture of me and my family away from her daughter, his response was. "I don't want my daughter anywhere near a drug dealer" When my wife questioned him and asked for what proof he had about this accusation, his response was. "Ann (court evaluator) dug up the proof". This proof is not a fact but a statement made by the ex-boyfriend who is angry and lying. I don't want her daughter who I have grown to care for to look at me in that manner that her dad is portraying me in. It's frustrating because this is a lie and has affected my wife's custody with her daughter and has allowed her ex-husband to put me and my family down. I wish there was something I could do. I would be willing to take a lie detector test or whatever else was needed to prove my innocence. Thanks for your time.
Now this is a bit different...can you tell me, this happened outside of court, on the phone? Who was the communication to? Who heard it?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
The communication was with my wife while she was talking with her daughter on the phone, and had it on speaker. I then had my phone record video of her speaking on her phone with him to ask why he had taken the picture. In the past he has repeatedly said things to her on the phone and there was no way of proving it. For example, once he had told her that everyone would be better if she were to slit her wrist. But no witnesses were present. This time I felt it would be good to have some sort of evidence of the way he responds to her. I don't know if video of this could be used in court.
OK, let me make sure I understand, her ex told your wife this...did he tell anyone else? Who?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
That, I do not know but he tells her daughter that I am a bad person and that my family is evil and that she should not talk to us. Ever since they have been disputing custody her daughter has always come back to us with statements that her dad would tell her about us. According to the court evaluator, this was not enough to rule that he was causing her mental abuse, but he was ordered by the court to undergo therapy to learn how to communicate with the child. Also, because of the false allegations put forth about me, the court evaluator suggested that my wife undergo a three month evaluation period and suggested that he get physical custody. Now, the ex-boyfriend who made up the allegations (a very physically abusive person) thinks because of this, he can take custody of my wife's youngest who he is the biological father of. Please keep in mind this individual has a violent history and physically hurt my wife during her pregnancy until she was able to get away from him. Also, this is the guy that her ex-husband originally called a drug dealer, (he used to supply her ex-husband and her with weed). This is the same person that her ex-husband relied on to help him get custody. My wife is trying to protect our youngest from this person.

That, is the key.

If this person has made false statements about you to others. NOT opinions, but statements of fact that are not true, AND your reputation is damaged by this, then you can sue to recover your loss.

But understand that to win this case, you need to prove your this has harmed you. It is also hard for a jury to try to put a dollar value on the loss to your reputation. So these cases can be tough to win.

But yes, if you can prove this person defamed you, you can sue them.
P. Simmons and 7 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
thank you