Not-for-Profit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006
Voices / Letters from readers

Legal implications sidebar: more commentary than reportage

RE: “The not-so-fine line between free speech and defamation” [Special Focus, Apr. 18]:

Shouldn’t such commentary be indicated as such, in contrast to the admirably straight reporting in the rest of this special section?

As to its implication that Peter Rizzo’s threat of a lawsuit is akin to a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) action, the Media Law Resource Center describes SLAPP as a “retaliatory lawsuit brought to intimidate and silence opponents or critics who had spoken out in the public sphere, typically on land use and development issues.”

Regarding Chandler v. Rutland Herald Publishing, they write: “The article was a matter of public concern and plaintiff failed to produce any evidence that the article was ‘devoid of any reasonable factual support and any arguable basis in law’ and that defendants’ acts caused actual injury’ as required by the statute.” This case most certainly is not comparable, since Rizzo and his yoga studio are a private concern.

Furthermore, civilization has long recognized the right of the accused to question his accusers, which is codified in the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. That may indeed be “re-traumatizing” but without testing such accusations, there is no rule of law, only the mob.

Olaf Errwigge
Brattleboro

Like what we do? Help us keep doing it!

We rely on the donations and financial support of our readers to help make The Commons available to all. Please join us today.

What do you think? Leave us a comment

Editor’s note: Our terms of service require you to use your real names. We will remove anonymous or pseudonymous comments that come to our attention. We rely on our readers’ personal integrity to stand behind what they say; please do not write anything to someone that you wouldn’t say to his or her face without your needing to wear a ski mask while saying it. Thanks for doing your part to make your responses forceful, thoughtful, provocative, and civil. We also consider your comments for the letters column in the print newspaper.

Add Comment

* Required information
1000
What is the sum of 1 + 2 + 3?
Captcha Image
Powered by Commentics

Comments (0)

No comments yet. Be the first!

Originally published in The Commons issue #458 (Wednesday, May 9, 2018). This story appeared on page E4.

Related stories

More by Olaf Errwigge