What is the Law on Seditious libel in Alabama and What are the Punishments for it?
Psychologists are still at work because they are yet to achieve complete success in their efforts to dissect the minds of criminals. Of course, if they succeed fully in their study and come to know what transpires inside the skulls of criminals, they can help law-enforcing authorities and the governments in their attempts to curb and prevent crimes and bring back culprits into the mainstream society. But it looks as though it will take some more time for them to succeed in their study.
A number of crimes can cause both physical and mental pains to the victims. But there are a few crimes that can cause severe mental pains. Seditious libel belongs to this type. Of course, seditious libel can collaterally cause physical harm to the general public as well. This statement can be understood only if the real meaning of the crime is known. So, let us find out what the crime of seditious libel is all about and how it can cause physical pains to the general public. Let us also find out how governments, and more particularly, the government of the state of Alabama in the US, have been handling this crime.
What is Seditious Libel?
Many people confuse seditious libel with slander. Though both these crimes have been put under the common head called "defamation," there is a subtle difference between the two. The basic difference is that in general, those who commit the crime of seditious libel do so in the written form. On the other hand, experts opine that slandering is orally defaming others. Let us focus only on seditious libel.
The Crime of Seditious Libel in the US.
It was during the year 1798, that the US Congress criminalized the act of carrying out a seditious libel. The Sedition Act that formed a part of this process categorically says that publishing any malicious, scandalous, and false writing about the ruling establishment or the officials of the government is a crime. But there are certain instances when the US Constitution does not count slander-like and libel-like statements that harm the reputation of a person as defamation. But the fact remains that the First Amendment of the US Constitution does not protect defamation.
Why is the Law of Seditious Libel needed?
Those who framed the US Constitution thought that rulers or the ruling establishment deserved special veneration. That is the reason they have enacted the seditious libel law for punishing those who utter lies about the government and those who criticize the ruling establishment or the government. In other words, seditious libel is quintessentially a political crime according to the Constitution of the USA.
What is Seditious Libel according to Alabama Laws?
According to Alabama law, if a person defames the reputation of another person, exposes the other person to the hatred, ridicule, or contempt of the public, or causes harm to the other person in his or her profession or business through his or her writings, pictures, effigies, signs, or any other type of communication that is in a physical form, then, he or she is committing a crime of seditious libel. Most importantly, these offenders should be targeting the ruling establishment or the officials or the employees of the government.
How can Seditious Libel cause Physical harm?
If a person induces others to revolt or to become violent by encouraging or organizing opposition to the ruling establishment, or the government, such violence, or a revolt can cause harm or misery to the general public. There may be a loss of assets or properties that belong to the government and the individuals. There may be physical injuries as well. In other words, seditious libel can be an indirect cause for physical pains.
What Punishments Alabama Laws specify for those who commit the Crime of Seditious Libel?
As per Alabama laws, those who commit this crime will get punishments of a term in a county jail for a period not exceeding six months and a fine of an amount that does not exceed $500.