Rodney Anderson not charged!!

Dave70968

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Just reading the D.A's press release it seemed pretty much a woman scorned type thing. Maybe one of our forum lawyers can explain why they could not prove she lied.
Because it's strictly he-said/she-said. There's not enough evidence to prove anything either way, at least not to criminal ("beyond a reasonable doubt") standards. Not proving the truth of an allegation is not the same as proving its falsity.

Anderson might be able to bring a civil suit, but even that is highly questionable. Libel and slander are covered by 12 O.S. 1441 et seq. Critically, there's 12 O.S. 1443.1: Privileged Communication Defined - Exemption from Libel, to wit:

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A. A privileged publication or communication is one made:


First. In any legislative or judicial proceeding or any other proceeding authorized by law;

Second. In the proper discharge of an official duty;

Third. By a fair and true report of any legislative or judicial or other proceeding authorized by law, or anything said in the course thereof, and any and all expressions of opinion in regard thereto, and criticisms thereon, and any and all criticisms upon the official acts of any and all public officers, except where the matter stated of and concerning the official act done, or of the officer, falsely imputes crime to the officer so criticized.

B. No publication which under this section would be privileged shall be punishable as libel.
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Basically, you can lie your ass off in judicial proceedings and it's privileged as far as a libel suit goes. This has been challenged on many occasions, and the Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled on it as recently as 2011 in Berman v. Laboratory Corporation of America, 268 P.3d 68, 2011 OK 106. The whole thing is good reading, but I'll quote the relevant bits:

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¶5 LabCorp raised the affirmative defense that its conduct "may be absolutely and/or qualifiedly privileged" pursuant to 12 O.S. 2001 §1443.1.1 LabCorp later filed its motion for summary judgment which the trial court granted on January 11, 2010,2 relying on Hartley v. Williamson, 2001 OK CIV APP 6, 18 P.3d 355 (released for publication by Order of the Supreme Court).3 Berman appealed, and on March 2, 2011, COCA [Court of Civil Appeals*] affirmed the trial court on the basis of privilege, stating at ¶7 of its opinion:


In Kirschstein v. Haynes, 1990 OK 8, 788 P.2d 941, the Supreme Court confirmed that a publication or communication made during a proceeding authorized by law was privileged pursuant to 12 O.S. 2001 § 1443.1 from an action for libel or slander. Kirschstein extended the 'litigation privilege' recognized at common law to communications made prior to judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings if the statement had some relation to the proposed proceeding. In addition, Kirschstein holds that, if applicable, the privilege not only bars defamation claims but also claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress based on the same communication. Id. at ¶30, 788 P.2d at 954. Claims for negligence are barred as well. [emphasis added]. See Hartley v. Williamson, 2001 OK CIV APP 6, ¶15, 18 P.3D 355, 358 (approved for publication by the Supreme Court).​

¶6 We granted certiorari on June 22, 2011.
...
¶10 In Kirschstein v. Haynes, supra, we held, as a matter of first impression, that the absolute privilege which applied to communications which were made during a judicial proceeding also applied to those made preliminary to a proposed proceeding for defamation. This privilege was further extended in Kirschstein to bar the plaintiff's claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress because it was based on the same facts as the defamation claim. Relying on Kirschstein, COCA held in this case that the privilege under §1443.1 also extends to Berman's negligence claim because the communication was made in the context of a "quasi-judicial" proceeding. However, the facts of this case are insufficient to invoke the privilege under §1443.1.
¶11 In Kirschstein we clearly expressed the parameters of the §1443.1 privilege and its application to the other claims raised therein:


[T]he absolute privilege acts not only to bar defamation actions, but those for intentional infliction of emotional distress when based on the same factual allegations as the defamation claim. 788 P.2d at 945 [emphasis added].

. . .

Thus, when the claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress is based on the same factual underpinnings as a defamation claim for which the privilege applies, a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress is also barred by the reach of the absolute privilege. 788 P.2d at 954 [emphasis added].
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So, in short, the Court reiterated the long-standing precedent that 1443.1 bars any sort of defamation action based upon court filings, and further bars Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress claims arising from a "common nucleus of operative fact" (a term of art not used in this case, but often found in cases where two causes of action are closely related). The Court did find that the statute did not bar a negligence claim against the lab for screwing up the DNA test (using the wrong sample). I think that's a good result: the negligence was not related to the court filing, and in fact happened completely independently of, and prior to, any filing. The filing came after the test was performed, and, in this universe anyway, cause precedes effect.

So...criminal charges against her for filing a false report are up to the DA; we'll see if he has any balls (my money is on "no;" I've encountered him before, and he seems to be the type who is setting himself up for higher office). A civil suit based on the filings is right out. All Mr. Anderson has left is a civil suit based on other statements she's made outside of court, and I don't have any knowledge of such one way or another. Even if she did make such statements in an unprivileged manner, I suspect she's likely judgment-proof anyway (most college students are), and there would also be the question of the measure of damages: how much did the false allegation cost Mr. Anderson (assuming he can prove, by preponderance--51%--that she lied)?

I suspect it'll all come to an end on Monday morning, at least for any meaningful action.



* Oklahoma has a goofy system. Cases are heard first by the district courts (county courts). Appeals are then presented to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which can either take it on initial appeal (rare, typically reserved for big or important points of law), or remand it to the Court of Civil Appeals. This is an appeal of right, and must be heard (akin to the circuit courts in the federal system). If remanded to COCA, it can then be appealed again to the Oklahoma Supreme Court; this is a discretionary appeal, and it's up to that court to decide whether or not to hear it (akin to SCOTUS in the federal system).

The criminal system has its own track; first heard by the district courts, then appeals go to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals as an appeal of right, where they usually die; they can only go to the Oklahoma Supreme Court if there's a (state) constitutional issue, not a question of law on the criminal side.

Any case can be appealed to SCOTUS as a last resort, but there has to be a federal constitutional issue before SCOTUS will even consider taking it.

As an aside, you can't appeal just because you didn't like the verdict (well, you can, but it won't go anywhere). Appeals are for mistakes of law: evidence was improperly allowed that should have been suppressed (or vice-versa), improper jury instructions were given, witnesses were improperly suppressed, allowed, or gave improper testimony without correction by the judge, etc.
 

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