Monthly Archives: December, 2012

What’s up with Keenan’s arrest?

It has been claimed that because Keenan Vanginkel was arrested on charges of Receiving Stolen Property, that he is responsible for the death of Morgan. Those who bring up Keenan’s arrest record as some kind of damning evidence imply that because he was arrested once, he must be a violent criminal. 

The jewelry in question belonged to Keenan’s friend’s mother. Keenan’s friend took the jewelry and pawned it without Keenan’s knowledge. Keenan drove his friend to the shop and was present during the transaction, however, he had no knowledge that the jewelry was taken without permission. The friend’s mother tried to stop the incident but was too late, a statement was made, and the case was dismissed. Every piece of jewelry the friend tried to sell was claimed and accounted for by his mother. 

Who is Keenan?

Keenan James Vanginkel was born in Colorado and has lived there his whole life. He attended a Christian Academy from Kindergarten through 8th grade.  He then went on to attend Glenwood Springs High School.  He has been employed full time since the age of 16 and is now an assistant manager at his current place of employment. 

Keenan loves the outdoors, to including fishing and camping trips, and spending time with friends. He regularly visits his grandparents, all of whom live either nearby or within 100 miles. Nearly all of his camping and fishing trips include Keenan, his father, and his paternal grandfather. Sometimes they are joined by a friend or two.

He isn’t much of a bookworm, but he enjoys listening to music. His preferred genre is country music to include the “oldies” like Marty Robbins and Johnny Cash.

Keenan’s paternal grandmother was killed by a drunk driver during the summer of 2012, in Michigan. The driver had a suspended license. Keenan struggles with the death of his grandmother, but overall he is doing okay.

Law of Defamation … ws&id=1874

The law of Defamation has come under renewed scrutiny with the advent of the Internet.

This is largely because it is the nature of the Internet to give the average, anonymous person an opportunity to express their opinion well-beyond any previously defined venue. Consider the fact that a person of modest means now has the ability to publish a statement, article, or news item across the world in an instant, without an editor checking the facts. Thereafter, the item will linger on the ‘Net for months, or even years, impossible to recover and amend, if the “facts” are erroneous. Therefore, it is inevitable that problems are going to arise.

Snips from article:

The main issue to remember when dealing with the Internet is that people still have their basic legal rights intact on the Net, and – likewise – the Internet is not as completely anonymous as the typical person may presumes. 

Technically, Defamation actionable at law follows this schema:
1. A false and defamatory statement regarding another;
2. Unprivileged publication of the claim to a third party;
3. Rising, in the case of matters of public concern, to at least negligence by the publisher, or worse; and
4. Damages to the subject.

Generally, persons defined as “Public Figures,” have a higher threshold in proving someone committed Defamation against them; that is, the statement must have been made maliciously. There are also four subjects that if falsely dispersed as a fact about another person, are actionable on their face: Attacking a person’s professional character /standing; Alleging an unmarried person is unchaste; Claims a person is infected with a sexually transmitted, or loathsome disease; Claims a person has committed a crime of moral turpitude. 

Can a Blog Be Sued for Defamation; Isn’t It All Free Speech?
This is a knotty issue, but a short answer would be, generally, that a blog owner whose blog has published obnoxious materials can be held harmless while a blogger using the site can be liable. The Communications Decency Act of 1996 is a protector of blog owners. It states, in section 230, that it “precludes courts from entertaining claims that would place a computer service provider in a publisher’s role.” As to how the court sees blogs, in general, overall, the US Supreme Court has ruled that blogs are similar to news groups, saying “in the context of defamation law, the rights of the institutional media are no greater and no less than those enjoyed by other individuals and organizations engaged in the same activities.”

For bloggers, all Defamation legal rules apply to their posts. But there are many complications in applying them. First, many people who post online comments, and probably those tending to make the most inflammatory and false statements, will do so anonymously, for obvious reasons. So the first threshold is identifying the blogger making Defamatory claims. Several things make this difficult, as well. Since the blogger probably will not identify themselves when the issue comes to light, there needs to be a legal process that allows identification. They can be traced by high-tech means, but a court must agree via summary judgment that all the elements of Defamation have been met. This technology does have some limits, as well, as it can be stymied through use of “Proxies,” which mask the true origin of the blogger. Also, the website owner may not cooperate in the search, as well. 

A recent case showed how powerful Defamation laws, applied online, can be. In November 2006, a Florida woman, Sue Scheff, was awarded $11.3 million in damages in Broward County Circuit Court, in one of the biggest awards ever tolled. The suit was filed for Internet defamation, and the jury found a Louisiana woman had posted caustic messages against the Scheff and her company, claiming she was a “con artist” and “fraud”. The jury found the charges were completely false, so the Louisiana woman had no defense. Interestingly, Scheff’s attorney had offered to settle the case for $35,000 before it went before the jury.

Libel, Slander, and Defamation should not be ignored

If you have been accused of something of which you are not guilty, having someone post a blog linking your name to the alleged crime can ruin your reputation and affect future employment and relationships. A simple Google search of the names Keenan James Vanginkel and Brooke Nicole Harris, of Carbondale, CO, will show you what results you can expect when someone with a cruel vendetta sets their sights on you.

If you have become the victim of internet libel/slander, there are steps you can take to get your reputation and life back.

Keep records of EVERYTHING. Screenshots of the statements being made will be necessary in the event the author changes their statements and denies having slandered your name.

Inform family and friends of the situation and ask them to occasionally search your name and information to ensure new libelous/slanderous statements have not appeared in other places. Sometimes, your harasser will block you from access to their blog or website so that you cannot see what they are saying about you. Do not be embarrassed to ask for help.

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