This comment presents the relevant federal and Nebraska case law regarding the truth defense, demonstrating that Nebraska's current interpretation of the "truth plus good motives" defense to libel actions is unconstitutional. Specifically, this comment will examine the Nebraska court's definition of "actual malice" as it relates to public officials and demonstrate that this definition causes § 25-840 to be unconstitutional.
II. New York Times Company v. Sullivan and its Progeny—Their Effect on the "Truth Plus Motive" Defense ... A. Common Law Defamation Prior to New York Times … B. New York Times Company v. Sullivan—Constitutional Malice Established ... 1. Constitutional Malice Distinguished ... 2. Garrison v. State of Louisiana—"Truth Plus Motive" Addressed ... 3. Defamation after New York Times and Garrison … 4. New York Times and Garrison Interpreted
III. Actual Malice in Nebraska Law ... A. Statutory Interpretation ... B. Nebraska Case Law
IV. Constitutionality of a "Truth Plus Motive" Defense ... A. Inhibitory Effects and Self-Censorship ... B. Infringement on the Right of Self-Government
V. The "Truth Plus Motive Defense" in Other Jurisdictions
Thomas Edward Powell II,
The Truth Will Not Set You Free in Nebraska: Actual Malice and Nebraska's "Truth Plus Motive" Defense,
72 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol72/iss4/10