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Carroll County Crime

Appellate court upholds dismissal of defamation action

The Court of Special Appeals upheld a Circuit Court judge's dismissal of a defamation action against Landmark Community Newspapers of Maryland, the former owner of the Carroll County Times.

The suit, filed by former Carroll County Chief Deputy State's Attorney David Daggett, alleged that a Times reporter defamed him in a series of articles published surrounding the investigation and prosecution of suspects in the 2010 murder of Jeremiah DeMario in Hampstead, according to the Court of Special Appeals' opinion.

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On July 18, Court of Special Appeals, the intermediate court in Maryland, affirmed the summary judgment award made in favor of the newspaper by an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge because Daggett failed to prove that reporter Brett Lake and the Times acted with actual malice, the standard for defamation of a public figure, according to the opinion.

The Court of Special Appeals found that Lake interviewed multiple witnesses involved in the case and called Daggett for comment prior to the article's publication, according to the opinion.

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Daggett may appeal the court's decision to the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court. The Court of Appeals has discretion to hear the case.

Reach staff writer Heather Cobun at 410-857-7898 or email heather.cobun@carrollcountytimes.com.


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