Criminal Defamation — Louisiana Law


New Orleans Defense Attorney: Criminal Defamation Laws


Defamation — La R.S. 14:47

Defamation is the malicious publication or expression in any manner, to anyone other than the party defamed, of anything which tends:

(1)  To expose any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule, or to deprive him of the benefit of public confidence or social intercourse; or

(2)  To expose the memory of a deceased person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule; or

(3)  To injure any person, corporation, or association of persons in his or their business or occupation.

Whoever commits the crime of defamation shall be fined not more than $500, or imprisoned for not more than 6 months, or both.  


 Presumption of Malice — La R.S.  14:48

When the publication or expression is false it is presumed to be malicious unless a justifiable motive for making it is shown.

Where such a publication or expression is true, malice must be proved in order to convict the offender.


 Qualified Privilege

Actual malice must be proved, regardless of whether the publication is true or false, in the following situations:

Where the publication or expression is a fair and true report of any judicial, legislative, or other public or official proceeding, or of any statement, speech, argument, or debate in the course of the same.

Where the publication or expression is a comment made in the reasonable belief of its truth, upon,

  • The conduct of a person in respect to public affairs; or
  • A thing which the proprietor thereof offers or explains to the public.

When the publication or expression is made to a person interested in the communication, who stands in such a relation to the other that it is reasonable for him to believe that the other’s motive is innocent.

When the publication or expression is made by an attorney or party in a judicial proceeding.


Absolute Privilege

There shall be no prosecution for defamation in the following situations:

(1)  When a statement is made by a legislator or judge in the course of his official duties.

(2)  When a statement is made by a witness in a judicial proceeding, or in any other legal proceeding where testimony may be required by law, and such statement is reasonably believed by the witness to be relevant to the matter in controversy.

(3)  Against the owner, licensee or operator of a visual or sound broadcasting station or network of stations or the agents or employees thereof, when a statement is made or uttered over such station or network of stations by one other than such owner, licensee, operator, agents or employees.


Legal Representation

If you are being charged with Criminal Defamation, contact our New Orleans Criminal Defense law firm.


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