What is the Law of Seditious Libel in Colorado and What are the Punishments for It?
In order to retain authority over its civilians, the government and its employees must maintain the dignity and respect they have in front of the people of the country. Especially in a country like United States, which prides itself as a democracy, the will of the people is the ultimate deciding factor in who comes to power, who stays in power, and whether or they are doing a good job of running the country. Seditious libel is a crime where a person, with the intent to deceive people into turning against the government, deliberate uses lies and misinformation to attempt to malign the reputation of the government. This is considered a crime and can incur penalties in different states in the country.
Colorado considers slander or libel towards the government to be a serious crime, however, it has greatly reduced the harsh penalties people could incur if they were discovered to be guilty of this crime.
What is considered as seditious libel in the State of Colorado?
Seditious libel was once considered a criminal act, and anyone found guilty of such behavior would be tried under criminal law. If they were found guilty they could receive harsh punishments for speaking against the country and its ruler. Where this law originated was when the colonists first came to settle in North America and brought with them many of the old customs and laws they were familiar with back in their old country.
However, as time went on and America built for itself its own national identity, the country developed a Constitution which guaranteed certain freedoms and rights to every citizen of the country. One of these rights is known as the Freedom of Speech, and it falls under the First Amendment of the Constitution.
The onset of America history saw the officials of the country treat seditious libel as a crime punishable with the same penalties as under criminal law. The Sedition Act of 1798 ever worked to solidify and bring credence to seditious libel, what is considered as seditious libel, as well as what kind of punishments should be given to people who are found to be guilty of this crime.
Yet, the question of what constituted as the freedom of speech continued to pervade across cases related to seditious libel. These questions included whether an opinion towards a government action, or whether criticism of the government should constitute as seditious libel or not, and if it did, what kind of freedom of speech do newspapers and journalists enjoy.
Finally, in 1925, this question was answered when the Supreme Court passed a ruling that said that the First Amendment rights prevent either the federal or state governments from imposing on a person's right to their freedom of speech.
This does not mean that seditious libel is not a punishable offense, but that it is only considered as seditious libel when certain conditions are involved. The person or people involved in the crime must have knowingly distributed false information with the intent of actually maligning the government, and the information they spread must be lies and of nature where it brings disrepute to the government.
What is the punishment for seditious libel in the State of Colorado?
The State of Colorado was one of the States that brought down how harshly they fined crimes related to seditious libel within the State. In 2012, they purposefully diminished their laws related to seditious libel as criminal libel. However, it is still a crime to attempt to or successfully defame the government in this State. Those found guilty may be charged with civil penalties, and the kind of punishment they receive will depend on the amount of damage caused by their seditious libel, and what would constitute as adequate compensation for it.