While this blogger understands and sympathize with what Jessica Juarez seems to have gone through in her sad domestic violence case against Joel Young, one that the Alameda County Superior Court officially called to a legal end last year, I don’t appreciate being threatened by her.
She called at 6:50 PM EST and out of the blue to react to a video I posted, dated Oct 3, 2011, which reported that Young was cleared of sex attack charges. Now, she’s not disputing that Young was cleared, but she’s upset that I said she did not want to testify in court, and wanted the video taken down just because of that statement.
Here’s the video:
To make matters worse, Ms. Juarez opened the conversation by threatening to sue me for libel if I did not comply with her demand.
The Video Is Not Libel
According to the definition of Libel, it is “is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, or nation a negative image. This can be also any disparaging statement made by one person about another, which is communicated or published. It is usually a requirement that this claim be false and that the publication is communicated to someone other than the person defamed (the claimant).”
The simple fact is stating that someone either refused to testify or did testify in court is in no way a defamation of that person’s character. That was not the intent, and Jessica knows that. All Jessica had to do was what I had to literally beg her to do: to explain what happened court.
Now think about that for a moment. Jessica didn’t want me to explain to what happened in court, or for that matter for me to make a new video or blog post; she wanted me to take the video down, period. In other words, what it seems Jessica did not want is any video stating that the court cleared Joel Young.
What I got Jessica to finally say was that, according to her, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobsen did not allow either party, Joel or Jessica, to testify because of the process. I have no problem communicating that, but to be threatened and bullied is just plain wrong.
Jessica went out of her way to communicate that “I’m an attorney,” as if this blogger’s supposed to be shaking in his shoes because she’s coming up and flexing her almighty legal muscles. With both her and Joel I have told the story from both sides, but her approach to me today was intolerable. Hence this blog post.
Jessica also said that I “used her name” in the video. Well, Jessica’s name now commonly appears in many online publications on this issue with Joel Young; it’s flat out wrong to imply that I am in some way the first person to do so.
Plus, Jessica is now, like it or not, a public figure. And while what can be said about a public figure is must broader than for a normal person, the fact is that no malice was intended in my statement in the video – in other words I had to know that she could and did want to testify in court, when I did not know that. Jessica has to prove otherwise.
I told Jessica of this, but she thinks she knows what a public figure is. In point of fact, she’s both an “involuntary public figure” and a “limited purpose public figure” who reached such status because of her name being constantly associated with Joel Young in the press, both online and offline, and because she contacted me last year to explain her side of the Joel Young issue.
An “involuntary public figure” is defined as a person or persons “who become a public figures ‘through no purposeful action of their own,’ by their association or participation in some high profile event or controversy,” and the Young case certainly qualifies as that. A “limited purpose public figure” is defined as “people who have entered the public discourse in connection to a particular controversy, who “have thrust themselves to the forefront of particular public controversies in order to influence the resolution of the issues involved.”
That describes Jessica.
In closing, I certainly hope and pray that Ms. Juarez puts this horrible episode of her life behind her. But I will not sit still for anyone who issues threats or tries to bully me into writing content or removing it. It’s not right for Jessica to do it to me, and it’s not right for Ecuador President Rafael Correa to do it in the case of the newspaper columnists who were openly critical of him (in that example, President Correa had them jailed and fined $80 million, before pardoning them). In my case, I wasn’t critical of Jessica, and I was happy to explain the issue from her point of view.
But I will not be bullied.