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A person who is charged with a crime in Washington has the ability to argue any applicable law, but it's only persuasive authority. The Washington judge doesn't have to follow the CA law. If conduct is a crime in WA and not CA, that won't be enough to defeat WA charges if that is where a crime occurred.
Defamation of character requires untrue statements made to a third party. If a person makes an untrue statement directly to someone, that can never be the basis for a defamation action, no matter how unflattering or horrible the statements. Defamation is also a civil matter - it's not a crime. But a key element is that the untrue statements are communicated to a third party, so a person cannot sue for defamation based on texts sent directly to him.
The Washington harassment
statute prohibits conduct or communications that would place a reasonable person in fear of eminent bodily harm, to himself or another, or threats to a person's mental health. RCW 9A.46.020
. The statute specifically includes electronic communications, so texts could fall within that statute, depending on what they said. Harassment is a gross misdemeanor
If the behavior occurred in Washington, the person could still be charged, even if they have since moved out of state.
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