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Defaming the Dead$
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Don Herzog

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300221541

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300221541.001.0001

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Legal Dilemmas

Legal Dilemmas

(p.103) IV Legal Dilemmas
Defaming the Dead

Don Herzog

Yale University Press

The chapter launches with Star Chamber proceedings against Lewis Pickering: in the sixteenth century, defaming the dead could be a crime. And that remains true even in today’s United States. But as the common law sharpened the distinction between tort and crime, it rejected the view that such defamation could be a tort. Tort claims extinguished when either plaintiff or defendant died. And when aggrieved survivors sued, the law held they hadn’t been wronged, even if they had been harmed, so they couldn’t recover, either.

Keywords:   Star Chamber, Palsgraf, tort, crime

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