2017 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 30 - Criminal Offenses
Article 11 - Crimes Against Reputation
Section 30-11-1 - Libel.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 30-11-1 (2017)

30-11-1. Libel.

Libel consists of making, writing, publishing, selling or circulating without good motives and justifiable ends, any false and malicious statement affecting the reputation, business or occupation of another, or which exposes another to hatred, contempt, ridicule, degradation or disgrace.

Whoever commits libel is guilty of a misdemeanor.

The word "malicious," as used in this article, signifies an act done with evil or mischievous design and it is not necessary to prove any special facts showing ill-feeling on the part of the person who is concerned in making, printing, publishing or circulating a libelous statement against the person injured thereby.

A. A person is the maker of a libel who originally contrived and either executed it himself by writing, printing, engraving or painting, or dictated, caused or procured it to be done by others.

B. A person is the publisher of a libel who either of his own will or by the persuasion or dictation, or at the solicitation or employment for hire of another, executes the same in any of the modes pointed out as constituting a libel; but if anyone by force or threats is compelled to execute such libel he is guilty of no crime.

C. A person is guilty of circulating a libel who, knowing its contents, either sells, distributes or gives, or who, with malicious design, reads or exhibits it to others.

D. The written, printed or published statement to come within the definition of libel must falsely convey the idea either:

(1) that the person to whom it refers has been guilty of some penal offenses;

(2) that he has been guilty of some act or omission which, though not a penal offense, is disgraceful to him as a member of society, and the natural consequence of which is to bring him into contempt among honorable persons;

(3) that he has some moral vice or physical defect or disease which renders him unfit for intercourse with respectable society, and as such should cause him to be generally avoided;

(4) that he is notoriously of bad or infamous character; or

(5) that any person in office or a candidate therefor is dishonest and therefore unworthy of such office, or that while in office he has been guilty of some malfeasance rendering him unworthy of the place.

E. It shall be sufficient to constitute the crime of libel if the natural consequence of the publication of the same is to injure the person defamed although no actual injury to his reputation need be proven.

F. No statement made in the course of a legislative or judicial proceeding, whether true or false, although made with intent to injure and for malicious purposes, comes within the definition of libel.

History: 1953 Comp., 40A-11-1, enacted by Laws 1963, ch. 303, 11-1.

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