Need help with my writing homework on A Distinction between a Private Individual and a Public Official. Write a 1500 word paper answering; Respondent contended that although the statements do not mention the respondent by name, the word ‘police’ referred to him as he supervised the Police Department, and hence being accused of those alleged in the advertisement (New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 1964). He further claimed that the rest of the paragraph referred to the police (New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 1964). It was found that some of the statements were not accurate descriptions of events, which happened in Montgomery (New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 1964).
The jury was under instructions by the trial judge upon presentation of the case, that the statements made were “libelous per se and were not privileged,” and hence the petitioners may be held liable if found to have published the advertisement and if the “statements were made of and concerning respondent,” (New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 1964). Being libelous per se, the judge cited that “falsity and malice are presumed from the bare fact of their publication,” (New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 1964). He added that general damages are presumed, hence, “need not be alleged or proved,” and that the jury may award punitive damages even though there is no showing of the number of actual damages (New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 1964). The decision also failed to charge to the jury that there must be malice or “actual intent to harm or gross negligence and recklessness” and did not distinguish between compensatory and punitive damages (New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 1964). These rulings and instructions were sustained by the Supreme Court of Alabama in all .respects and added the injury being implied, there is no need for ‘proof of pecuniary injury’ for it to be actionable (New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 1964). It also rejected the constitutional contentions of the petitioners stating that, “The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution does not protect libelous publications and that the Fourteenth Amendment is directed against State action and not private action,” .
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