Retaliation or Bad Work? Local businessman arrested, charged with False Pretense

Keith Marquar's Mugger via the Sea Coast Echo
Keith Marquar’s Mugger via HCSO and the Sea Coast Echo

Did everyone catch that local businessman Keith Marquar was arrested back on the 24th by the Hancock County Sheriff’s office? When I was told about it I immediately checked the Echo’s website but had no luck because, online at least, the story was buried. Luckily a good Samaritan sent me the link to the most popular story on the Sea Coast Echo’s website and that despite the fact it never appeared on the front page of the website that I could tell.

Even more interesting is the social media chatter locally, with public opinion seemingly split with a healthy percentage of those commenting  thinking the arrest is retaliation against Marquar for filing a 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 lawsuit against the City of Bay St Louis, Mayor Mike Favre and former Councilman Lonnie Falgout. Such is a reasonable conclusion from reading Stacey Cato’s story because about two thirds of it rehashes Marquar’s civil suit against the City, which was filed last month in Federal court. The story also did not name the person who swore the complaint against Marquar, ostensibly because Don Bass of HCSO refused to name the lady, whose name did appear on Facebook.

Let’s imagine for a second that the Echo’s story were limited to Marquar’s arrest and included the name of his alleged victim. Continue reading “Retaliation or Bad Work? Local businessman arrested, charged with False Pretense”

On days like today I’m liable to have a few random thoughts….

First up is Russell who brings tidings of a Chiquita merger with Fyffes. He knew this would be of interest as I am a made Banana man. (The backstory is too long to tell in a quick post)

Next up is New York Times v Sullivan, the landmark US defamation case, which was again in the news recently. As you lawyerly types well know libel must have a falsity component here in the US and with regards to public figures, that falsity component is further restricted to reckless disregard for the truth. Here is the applicable definition and case cite:

disregard of the truth or falsity of a defamatory statement by a person who is highly aware of its probable falsity or entertains serious doubts about its truth or when there are obvious reasons to doubt the veracity and accuracy of a source [the knowingly false statement and the false statement made with reckless disregard of the truth , do not enjoy constitutional protection “Garrison v. Louisiana , 379 U.S. 64 (1964)”

I ask this because some forums, such as those that operate in the English common law tradition, do not have falsity as a legal element in defamation. I can see scenarios where there would be implications for foreign media outlets that rely upon such forums in their reporting under US law. We shall see.

Since I’ve gotten so much free legal advice over the past couple of days lets talk 1st Amendment and Defamation

There has been a bit of chatter here on Slabbed and elsewhere about the Nova Scotia court case, much of it by people who have no clue what I’ve written or clued into the fact I did not respond to the suit against me in Nova Scotia at all. It typically starts with the assumption that I libeled Leary and Perret and ends in some ignorant induced conclusion such as those found on this internet BB.  I am happy to have this discussion about the general topic but what do I know as I’m just a dumb redneck blogger from Mississippi.  😉

Before I posted to the internet on a financial message board for the first time a decade ago, I took time to learn about defamation and other issues. The concepts are not that hard to grasp.  I mention all this because there are a couple of websites that have lots of information on defamation and the use of predatory defamation suits to silence perceived critics aka the SLAPP suit.  I prefer Chilling Effects as their FAQ on US defamation laws is very good. Here is a snippet:

Question What are the elements of a defamation claim?

Answer: The party making a defamation claim (plaintiff) must ordinarily prove four elements:

1. a publication to one other than the person defamed;

2. a false statement of fact;

3. that is understood as

a. being of and concerning the plaintiff; and

b. tending to harm the reputation of plaintiff.

4. If the plaintiff is a public figure, he or she must also prove actual malice.

That 4th bullet is important, mainly because we do not blog much about non public figures here on Slabbed and yes Charles Leary and Vaughn Perret are public figures multiple ways: Continue reading “Since I’ve gotten so much free legal advice over the past couple of days lets talk 1st Amendment and Defamation”

What I like about livin’ way down south are the occasional Cat Fights. An Ana Maria of the Slabbed nation in the news again.

In today’s installment of right wing nuts gone wild I offer Grace “Bea” Harrison, owner of The Encore Group, a dissolved Mississippi Corporation and host of the Sunday morning show That’s What I Like About the South, where her wingnuttery goes on full display each Sunday morning.  I discovered the show by pure chance and figured out quickly she was buying the time slot from the local Fox affiliate and selling her own advertising.  After seeing her coverage of the August 2009 Gene Taylor Town Hall meeting, an event I attended as a member of the local media it did not take long to open my mind to the possibility that ol’ Bea may have a few screws loose to go along with the serious hard on she has for our Congressman, Gene Taylor.  I never blogged about ol’ Bea but did resolve to not patronize any of her advertisers including the local italian restaurant Salute (which has good food) as I was not interested in helping Ms Harrison fund her jackassery. 

The Moss Point meeting was my first experience with the local TEA Party movement. I want to make sure the Slabbed Nation in Louisiana understands we’re all for political expression here at Slabbed but these right wing nuts on my side of the line are what gives the TEA Party movement such a bad name nationwide IMHO.  After reading a poll which appeared in the New York Times earlier this year, I also figured out the local TEA Party here on the Mississippi Coast does not match the demographics revealed in the NY Times poll, which did happen to closely mirror my experiences from meeting the Jefferson Parish based Citizens for Good Government back in June.  Simply put Citizen Activists like Margie Seemans show for all the meetings but do not disrupt them. 

The gang over here follows Gene Taylor from town to town across the 4th district trying to disrupt all of his constituent meetings. These meeting are important to local folks in places like Waynesboro, Mississippi who get a great opportunity to get help with navigating the federal bureaucracy.  At the Moss Point meeting for example, there was an older man on the front row with an adult child that was severely mentally handicapped who attended the meeting for a damn good reason.  It sure is easier to help people when there isn’t a group a 15-20 wingnuts acting like asses. This of course explains some of the more biting criticism I’ve levied against the TEA Party movement. Here on Slabbed though, we are all for open exchange of ideas which is why even Dan Triplett has commented here in the past free from personal attack. If I were asked, my advice to the Mississippi coast TEA Party movement would be to go meet Miss Margie over in Jefferson Parish and learn some manners. Continue reading “What I like about livin’ way down south are the occasional Cat Fights. An Ana Maria of the Slabbed nation in the news again.”