Facebook Comments Lead to Defamation Criminal Charge in Livingston Parish

Royce McLin allegedly made statements using a bogus account on Facebook, the social networking website, about three Livingston Parish Council members.  As a result, McLin, who is a former Livingston Parish government employee, was issued court summonses accusing him of defamation.

Council members Cindy Wale, Chance Parent and James Norred filed the complaints.  The comments allegedly were about various topics such as homosexuality, adultery, and the Ku Klux Klan, according to the affidavits.

Defamation is usually handled as a civil matter.  In fact, the state Supreme Court twice has found the criminal statute unconstitutional, once in 1973 and again in 1981 in cases involving public officials.

McLin said he is innocent and plans to plead not guilty when he goes to court in October.

In June, sheriff’s detectives served Mclin with a search warrant and confiscated his computer equipment from his home.  After State Police analyzed his computer, they determined “the identity of the fake Facebook account was found to be Royce McLin, ” according to an affidavit.

The penalty for a conviction of defamation is a fine of up to $500 and imprisonment of not more than six months or both.

Louisiana Revised Statute 14:47 says, “Defamation is a malicious publication or expression in any manner” that exposes a person “to hatred, contempt or ridicule.”

Source: The Advocate, Facebook posts lead to summons, August 18, 2012.

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Statewide DWI Tracking System in Louisiana

This month, the Integrated Criminal Justice Information System Board in Louisiana met to possibly discuss the implementation of a statewide DWI tracking system. The Board is composed of leaders from around the state. The state legislature has requested that the Board reconvene and report back in 2013 regarding the tracking system.

The tracking system is supported by prosecutors and Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Louisiana. The system would include a statewide database of DWI arrests/convictions. Importantly, it would allow prosecutors access to more accurate records of convictions which would lead to more accurate formal charges. In theory, with access to the database, prosecutors will be able charge offenders with more serious charges than if the database didn’t exist because prosecutors may never know about the previous DWI convictions. DWI is an enhanceable offense in Louisiana, meaning that prior DWI convictions may be used to enhance the sentence of the new DWI conviction. Therefore, prosectors want to know the whole story regarding an offenders criminal history. The primary purpose of the database would be to provide a more detailed and accurate history of the offender.

DWI laws in Louisiana only become more harsh every legislative session. These charges carry serious consequences. If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI or DUI, contact Baton Rouge DWI lawyer, Carl Barkemeyer at (225) 964-6720.

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