by Patrick H. Moore

Great Good News, Dear Friends and Comrades. Thanks to a wise Federal judge in Newark, New Jersey, the 900 pound stone that has been sitting on Patrick H’s (and by extension All Things Crime Blog’s) head ever since the blog and Old Man Mo’ were sued by an angry person who insisted Moore and the blog were guilty of libel and defamation, has been rolled away and Moore and All Things Crime Blog are breathing a sigh of relief. Please join me in a toast of celebration.

attIn short, all charges against us have been Dismissed with Prejudice, which means the plaintiff cannot bring a fresh lawsuit against Moore and the blog based on the same evidence (or lack thereof).

I want to thank each and everyone of you who was so supportive during this difficult time, and there were a lot of you. It meant worlds to me knowing that there were so many of you out there who gave a damn and wished me well. You know who you are and I will always remember your kind support.

I also want to thank my skilled lawyer, Jared Geist, who works for a New Jersey law firm named Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq. Mr. Geist wrote several highly cogent and persuasive briefs in our defense, and based on the strength and logic of his reasoning, the outcome was probably never really in doubt. Nonetheless, Old Man Mo’ was naturally sweating it out and is glad things have ended on this positive note.

dis2Mr. Geist performed his valuable services for a very reasonable retainer, which I certainly appreciate(d). He has also expressed interest in writing a post on the right to Free Speech based on this case, which I assured him I would be delighted to post here on ATCB. Hopefully, he will find the time to put something together for us. He is a strong believer in Free Speech, which, I believe, is part of the reason, he represented us for such a reasonable rate.

The judge’s criteria for dismissing the allegations are clear and bode well for bloggers everywhere who want to report and analyze news of any kind. The judge’s Opinion is an excellent example of clear and cogent legal analysis, the gist of which is that the statements made by All Things Crime Blog and three other media outlets who had the charges against them Dismissed with prejudice are protected under New Jersey’s “fair-report privilege.”

My dad (Pops) was originally from New Jersey, and as a few of you may remember, I had a few hella fine adventures in the Garden State when I was still quite young, so I’m glad to see N.J. is capable of and willing to Do the Right Thing.

dis3Personally, at this juncture, I’m mostly focusing on writing my second crime novel, which may or may not be titled The Playing Field. Those of you who read and enjoyed Cicero’s Dead, which has been selling at a decent clip since April 28th, can assume that with luck, skill, sufficient time in front of the keyboard, and good editing, Nick Crane’s second adventure MAY also prove to be interesting.

Although I don’t plan on writing many true crime blogs in the near future, I will when time (that precious commodity) permits, and I still welcome crime posts of any ilk from contributing crime writers.

And with that, let’s raise another glass in celebration. And remember, “neither a libeler nor a defamer be”.

 

 

 

 

23 Responses to The Stone Is Rolled Off of All Things Crime Blog’s Head! Raise a Glass in Celebration!

  1. Cathy Rouse Page says:

    Great news. I will have to celebrate when I return home this evening.

  2. Susan Nienaber says:

    I’m glad you’re back! I enjoy your crime blog and have been wondering where you’ve been. Congratulations on winning your case!

  3. Pam Harper-Smith says:

    Congratulations, now we all can exhale! I’m raising my coffee cup, however, later today, I will have an appropriate toast to you, your legal team, the wise judge, and New Jersey memories!!
    I look forward to reading Mr. Geist’s Free Speech post, if he can make the time………I know you are writing your book, hope to order it by the end of the year, so you won’t be here much, but looking forward to seeing ATCB in my mailbox again.

    • PatrickHMoore says:

      Great to hear from you Pam, and thanks a million. Hopefully, contributors will come forward so that I can run occasional true crime posts (and perhaps I can knock a few out from time to time). :-)

  4. Congratulations! This is a real victory for free speech, not to mention that I fully appreciate what kind of stress it was for you. I was criminally charged for the contents of my blog where what occurred in my own disciplinary proceedings was described, complete with documentary evidence and posting of audio recordings of court proceedings showing that filed court transcripts were fabricated… The court had the good grace to drop the charges before the returnable date, after keeping it on the calendar for 4 months… So, believe me, I know the feeling. Congratulations! You fought a fight for free speech on behalf of all of us, at a great personal risk.

    • PatrickHMoore says:

      Wow! Thank God the judge ultimately did the right thing.

      I’m very aware, based on our legal work out here in L.A., that New York apparently tends to bring various charges against lawyers pretty regularly.

      Congratulations that you pulled through and thanks for the kind words.

  5. I’m glad this is over for you Patrick, however baseless, something like this is obviously a worry. I had no idea this was going on.

    • PatrickHMoore says:

      Thanks, George. I’m very glad it’s over. I was very stressed at first and gradually adjusted to the waiting game. The judge was rather slow and deliberate in reaching his decision.

  6. Darcia Helle says:

    Yay! I’d say justice prevails, except for the fact that you had to pay a lawyer because of someone’s tantrum. Now get back to writing. I’m waiting. :)

    • PatrickHMoore says:

      Good point. What happened to my bank account? :-)
      I am working hard on Book II of the Nick Crane series. I think I have a better title now which must be kept secret for a while.

      My editor is so rigorous that he forces me to keep rewriting and rewriting and rewriting which I ten to do anyway. But I’ll get the sucker done. That I promise. The Mental Health Club will probably be book III in the series after the WIP.

      • Darcia Helle says:

        Secret titles. You’re such a tease. :)

        I’m looking forward to finding out what Nick gets into next. I love the title ‘The Mental Health Club’. That alone makes me want to read the book!

        • PatrickHMoore says:

          I think it’s a good title too and it WILL BE the title when that book is published.

          BOOK II may be called “Operation Quiet Boy”. Not sure yet. I don’t mean to be coy; I’m just insecure about the title.

  7. Rick says:

    Congrats, Patrick. To paraphrase Hunter Thompson: “Way to rip out plaintiff’s lungs!” Now if you can only get her to pony up your attorney’s fees and costs for this frivolous lawsuit. . .

    • PatrickHMoore says:

      THX Rick,
      I think my lawyer will soon let me know if he thinks we have a chance of prevailing. I’m unclear as to the law in cases like this. What do you think?

      • Rick says:

        Patrick – I unfortunately can’t illuminate the situation much for you, as I’m only familiar with the fee shifting statute in IRS cases (I.R.C. Sec. 7430), where the government has taken an unreasonable litigation position. I also have passing knowledge of the standard for obtaining attorney fee sanctions under Fed. R. Civ. P. 11 for an opponent’s filing of a frivolous pleading. Although I have no specific facts to back this up, I suspect that it’s more difficult for a private party to obtain a recovery of his attorney’s fees against his losing private adversary, compared to when the government loses to you.

        As you may know, under the so-called “American Rule” of litigation, each party pays it’s own attorney’s fees, unless there is a specific statute shifting responsibility for payment of the fees to the losing party. In contrast, under the “English Rule” of litigation, the losing party generally pays the winner’s attorney’s fees. Due to the risk of having to pay the attorney’s fees of an opponent, parties in other countries think long and hard before haling an adversary into court on a sketchy claim. In America, however, one can sue almost anyone else in Federal court and walk away without having to pay an opponent’s attorney’s fees in MOST cases. Isn’t this a great land (for lawyers and litigious bastards, that is)? There’s a major caveat to the foregoing discussion: many state courts, including California, have liberal fee-shifting provisions as to private party suits. For example, California law generally presumes that the losing party is liable for payment of its opponent’s reasonable legal fees and it’s incumbent on the losing party to show cause why it should not pay its opponent’s fees.

        The main bone that the Federal system (and the states as well) throws to a winning party is that you can generally recover your court costs and similar items (filing fees, deposition and court transcripts, reproduction and binding of briefs and exhibits, etc.). Unless it’s a case like Apple v. Microsoft, however, the “bill of costs” for the prevailing party isn’t likely to be much more than a few thousand dollars, if even that.

        So there you go. I’ve just unwittingly penned a primer on fee shifting in the federal courts! Best of luck in recouping your attorney’s fees from the miscreant plaintiff in your case.

        • PatrickHMoore says:

          And a sterling primer it is. Based on what you say, it appears to me that it would be fruitless to try to recoup my lawyer’s fees, which is okay with me. Nothing I like better than paying a first-rate lawyer to save the day. :-)

  8. Diana says:

    Thank goodness the powers that be understand and appreciate the value of free speech. Congratulations and well done! I’ve missed the blog, and although you’re going to concentrate on your next book, which I’m sure will be as fantastic as Cicero’s Dead, I’m hopeful that you’ll dip in on occasion with a blog. It’s just that you’re so darn good at it! All the best, and again, well done!

    • PatrickHMoore says:

      Diana,

      You are so very kind and I very much appreciate it. And I’m really glad the lawsuit is over.

      THX again,

      Patrick

  9. Tara says:

    Hi, I am a student taking a course in Crime and The Media and have been assigned to interview someone who covers crime or who has covered crime for newspaper,radio,TV,Internet. I am interested to hear about anyone’s opinions and experience about the impact of media on the criminal justice system as a whole. Questions that I am looking for answers for:

    In your experience, what makes a “good” crime story or courtroom story?
    Who decides what goes “on the air” or in print after you get the story?
    What discrepancies have you found between what is reported and what actually occurred?
    What types of considerations come into play as you determine what is important to report, and what should be left out of the story?
    How do you check or confirm information you receive while investigating a story?
    What happens if there is an error in a story?
    What do you like best about being a crime reporter?
    What do you like least?
    What kind of relationship do you have with law enforcement? The courts?
    What are the main issues you face as a crime reporter?
    In terms of whether a story is newsworthy: How important is the gender of the victim or defendant to you and your news organization? Physical appearance? Age? Ethnic identity? Economic status? Celebrity status?

    Any answers to above questions would be greatly appreciated.

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