Professor Enrique Armijo authored an explanatory column for The Conversation and spoke with news outlets on the successful defamation claims filed by parents of Sandy Hook parents against media personality Alex Jones.
An Elon Law scholar of the First Amendment authored an explanatory column for a national syndication service following a courtroom victory for parents of Sandy Hook victims against a media personality who claimed the parents were accomplices in faking the 2012 murders of their children.
“Alex Jones loses Sandy Hook case, but important defamation issues remain unresolved,” authored by Professor Enrique Armijo for The Conversation, contextualized the lawsuit by detailing the intricacies of defamation claims in the age of social media.
Armijo’s column was first published in 2018 and updated on November 15, 2021, following a judge’s ruling in favor of the parents whose children died in a Connecticut elementary school nearly a decade earlier.
Jones had claimed in his legal defense that Sandy Hook parents, by virtue of their remarks on the shooting and gun rights, were limited-purpose public figures and “should therefore have to prove that his statements about them were made with knowledge that they were false.”
While Jones’ particular argument was never fully decided, Armijo believed it should have failed.
“No one would have volunteered for the kind of attention that the Sandy Hook parents have received,” Armijo writes. “But if a court were to find that they were public figures because of that attention, then future parents might not speak out at all, which would do significant harm to the marketplace of ideas that the First Amendment is intended to promote.”
Armijo also contributed his legal analysis to CounterSpin, a weekly radio program hosted by the nonprofit organization Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, and to Toronto-based NEWSTALK 1010.
Armijo is an Affiliate Fellow of the Yale Law School Information Society Project and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life. He teaches and researches in the areas of the First Amendment, constitutional law, torts, administrative law, media and internet law, and international freedom of expression.
His scholarship addresses the interaction between new technologies and free speech.