Free Speech

N.H. Criminal Libel Charges (for Allegedly Libeling Police Chief) Dropped

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Charges have been dropped in that case I blogged about Wednesday, reports Sea Coast Online (Alex LaCasse):

Citing a review by the New Hampshire attorney general's office, Exeter police dropped the criminal defamation charge against Robert Frese for online comments he made accusing the police chief of "covering up for a dirty cop."

In a press release issued Thursday afternoon, Exeter police said "In further review by the attorney general's office of the facts of this case and the law, it is their opinion that the state would not prevail at trial. After careful consideration of all the opinions involved, the Exeter Police Department has decided to nolle prosse the charge."

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  1. I really wish there were some equivalent of eye-for-an-eye retribution for abuses of power like this. I’d be fine if it were translated to plain old money, coming from the abuser’s pocket, not taxpayers. Tally up all the costs to the victim (lawyers, time off work, other expenses) and throw in some punitive multiplier. I can’t think of any other way to stop these idiots throwing their weight around.

    Even more interesting if the abuser had to negotiate financial retribution vs tit-for-tat retribution. Suppose you get one of those driving-while-black traffic stops, and the broken taillight excuse is shown to be an outright lie, ie, you video the damned tail light on the spot and show it is working at the moment you were pulled over. Your retribution is to be able to do the same to that cop anytime in the next six months. Pull him over, dog-sniff his car, make a mess of your search, haul him off to jail in a stinky dirty car, let him spend as much time in some concrete cell as you spent, and only then can he borrow the money to post bail. And now he gets to negotiate with you. How much is he willing to spend to avid all that? How much are you willing to accept?

    These retribution moments should be transferable too. If you’re a tourist and have interest in returning to the area, or of the cop moves away, you should be able to sell your moment to someone else, and the cop has to negotiate with the new owner.

    If nothing else, cops would learn to be a lot more polite.

    1. SR&C: “Suppose you get one of those driving-while-black traffic stops, and the broken taillight excuse is shown to be an outright lie,…”

      Qualified immunity.

  2. The state has already exacted their pound of flesh from this guy for daring to talk mean to a petty government official.

  3. Local intel: “Frees is a neighbor of mine. Trust me, he’s anything and everything but a victim. Let’s put it this way: you don’t want him around if you have underage little girls (and this is not defamation. He’s registered).”

    That said, having to spend ones money to defend oneself from a government already spending ones tax dollars on a bogus arrest is abuse of authority. Is a good CoP one who gets the bad guy one way or another? Depends on if you’re one the bad guy is bad to…

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