What is the law on Seditious Libel in Indiana and what are the punishments for it?
Freedom of speech is the most preferred phrase used by the millennial and the generation that follows them in the United States. But do you know, freedom of speech and expression can create havoc in your life if it is used against the government in a provocative way? Sedition is a serious felony if it has created a revolt or political outburst against lawful authority. If the seditious conspiracy has been planned to destroy or overthrow the government with force or by causing physical damage to people and property, it is a criminal offense and the mastermind behind such seditious conspiracy can count bars in jail. However, the law on Seditious Libel In Indiana is slightly different from the federal law against seditious conspiracy stated in the U.S code (18 U.S.C.2384).
What is Seditious Libel?
The laws of defamation in Indiana define Seditious libel as a written or graphically transmitted defamation. For example, when any new idea sprouts in the state, criticizing the same in social media by writing derogatory posts, painting walls with defamatory messages, trying to instigate people with posters, placards, etc.
all can be categorized under seditious libel in Indiana. However, when a defamation lawsuit is filed against a person or a community for a seditious libel, the following parameters are analyzed before the verdict is passed on the case. They are:
- Whether the accused made a false statement of fact.
- Whether the accused posted a libel just to attract followers and did some deliberate attention seeking
- Whether the seditious libel has created any personal harm on anyone.
- Whether the seditious libel has caused damage to any property
- Whether the statement was made due to negligence or was published with actual malice.
Based on such parameters, the sedition charges are tried and judgment is passed without much delay.
What is the Law of Seditious Libel In Indiana?
The Statutes of Limitation for defamation In Indiana is two years. The uniqueness of the state of Indiana in handling libel charges is that; they do not start the limitation enforcement on the accused from the time the libel was published. Instead, the statute of limitations begins only after the plaintiff has identified with the damage caused by the defamation statement. Also, there is a clear distinction between public figures and private figures when there is a defamation lawsuit filed with respect to them.
The public figures, who are elected officials, celebrities, internationally acclaimed socialites, etc. need to prove that the offender acted with actual intention to defame them so that the defendant can be punished while the private ones need not provide any proof with respect to the offender’s actual intention. In case if the defendant was negligent and has written the defamation statement in mistake, an apology statement needs to be issued to close the libel charges.
But if the seditious conspiracy has created political unrest then it can be charged as a felony case and maximum jail sentence is issued in accordance with the federal law.
Punishments for Seditious Libel in Indiana
In Indiana, defamation per se includes any statement that is defamatory being published. The damages for defamation can include
- Actual damages
- Compensatory damages
- Punitive damages
Also, in Indiana, online libel cases are argued based on Section 230 of the communications decency act. According to this act, Indiana encourages fair reporting and when websites publish content by a third party that is defamatory, the webmasters are not held responsible for the negligent act but the content creator is charged with seditious libel. Seditious conspiracy is punishable offense when the defamation targets the government in the rule or the ones in the elected position. If two or more persons in Indiana or any nearby place that is subjected to the jurisdiction of Indiana, write public statements that are provoking, demeaning towards the government, or it's functioning, there can be a seditious libel case charged against the accused. If the charges are proven, the guilty can be fined and imprisoned for a minimum of 20 years which can completely destroy their life and career.
Sedition in oral or written form should be avoided as it can land one in trouble for a crime that they committed in anger or under the influence of an external source.