Royce McLin allegedly made statements using a bogus account on Facebook, the social networking website, about three Livingston Parish Council members. As a result, McLin, who is a former Livingston Parish government employee, was issued court summonses accusing him of defamation.
Council members Cindy Wale, Chance Parent and James Norred filed the complaints. The comments allegedly were about various topics such as homosexuality, adultery, and the Ku Klux Klan, according to the affidavits.
Defamation is usually handled as a civil matter. In fact, the state Supreme Court twice has found the criminal statute unconstitutional, once in 1973 and again in 1981 in cases involving public officials.
McLin said he is innocent and plans to plead not guilty when he goes to court in October.
In June, sheriff’s detectives served Mclin with a search warrant and confiscated his computer equipment from his home. After State Police analyzed his computer, they determined “the identity of the fake Facebook account was found to be Royce McLin, ” according to an affidavit.
The penalty for a conviction of defamation is a fine of up to $500 and imprisonment of not more than six months or both.
Louisiana Revised Statute 14:47 says, “Defamation is a malicious publication or expression in any manner” that exposes a person “to hatred, contempt or ridicule.”
Source: The Advocate, Facebook posts lead to summons, August 18, 2012.