Dean Boland Doubles Down On Stupid (Update)

The inbox contained one of those emails that makes you shake your head.  From Ohio lawyer Dean Boland with a history of incredibly poor choices.  He added one more to the list.

 Mr. Greenfield:

Your article at this link contains false and defamatory statements that I am demanding be revised or the entire article removed.

By way of summary, you cite to a Wired article and quote as follows:  “Boland was an expert witness for the defense in a half-dozen child porn cases and made the mock-ups to punctuate his argument that child pornography laws are unconstitutionally overbroad because they could apply to faked photos.”

This quoted statement is false.  The exhibits were not used for that purpose at all.  This statement is false and defamatory and is causing me professional financial harm which is calculable.

This statement in the article is defamatory and false:  “As a result, in 2007 he found himself the defendant in a deferred federal child-porn prosecution in Ohio….”  I have never been involved in any prosecution, never been a defendant in a criminal matter and have maintained good standing as a lawyer in Ohio with a no discipline record.  I did not enter into any agreement called a “deferred prosecution agreement” nor even words to that effect.  This statement is false and defamatory and damaging to my professional reputation.

“Given that Boland was prosecuted (even though it resulted in a deferred prosecution)”  Again, this is a false statement.  I was never prosecuted for any conduct in this case nor any other.  I never entered a deferred prosecution agreement with the government.  This statement is defamatory and causing me real, financial harm which is calculable.

I am demanding that this article be revised to correct these and other errors or removed entirely within ten days.

Please advise as to your decision so that I can proceed accordingly if a satisfactory result is not obtained.

Dean Boland

This goes back to a post from 2012, in which I’m fairly supportive of Boland getting screwed for his stupid choice.  My post was based on a Wired post and the 6th Circuit opinion in the case where he got nailed for $300,000.  Was everyone in the world lying about Boland? It doesn’t matter.

Despite Boland’s cluelessness as to defamation, it struck me that I had heard from him before, so I checked my old email and there it was, a few emails back and forth more than a year ago.

Mr. Greenfield:

You don’t know me, but I am the lawyer you wrote about more than three years ago in an article at this link.

I am currently in a career change away from the law and as you know, everyone checks out potential candidates on Google.  My wife and two kids are reliant upon me to provide for them and one of the prominent links on the first page of Google search results when “Dean Boland” is searched is the article linked above.  It is undoubtedly having a negative impact on my ability to find work.

The article appears understanding of the circumstance I found myself in attempting to zealously represent my client.  The article is nearly two years old at this point and the case regarding the $300,000 judgment it discusses is more than two years since it concluded.

For the good of my career and life can you consider seeking removal of this post from your blog?  I presume if you checked your website stats that other than my connection to the article in the last day, very few visitors are hitting that link other than from the Google search results mentioned above from potential employers researching me on Google

In any event, because of how Google is ranking things online this post is having a seriously negative impact on my life and that of my family given the common use of Google these days.  I don’t mean to insult or challenge the journalistic integrity that is the lifeblood of blogs and especially those talking about criminal and civil cases.  I am asking from a human level if you could see your way to make a minor adjustment to your blog that would remove an incredible impediment to my life and that of my family.

Thank you.

By approaching me as a human being, rather than a dumbass, I was sympathetic to his problem. But it wasn’t that simple, as mine was only one of a number of posts about him and his child porn problems, including Courthouse News and the ABA Journal.  So there was no point in my removing a post (something I’m loathe to do) if the others remained.

I responded to Boland by telling him that if he was able to persuade the others to take their posts down, I would remove mine. If not, then there was nothing to be gained. He expressed his gratitude for my kindness.

I appreciate you even considering it.  I feel that the others will not be as understanding however. I will update you on that.

Ironically, he went on to pitch me a story on another case of his, which was a bore and was summarily ignored.

When I received his threat yesterday, I sent it off to Marc Randazza, who was also sympathetic to Boland for having suffered the indignity of his stupidity. He sent a nice, very lawyerly, letter explaining the law to Boland and why his threat was mind-numbingly stupid on every level.

The funny part is that Boland is so clueless that he doesn’t realize that he failed the most basic of all legal issues, that he’s blown the one year Statute of Limitations, even if there was defamation. There isn’t, but his bluff doesn’t pass the smell test of a first-year law student.

Protip: Don’t send a threatening email to a lawyer that conclusively proves your incompetence. It rarely ends well.

Rather than appreciate Randazza’s display of kindness, Boland came back with the sort of response one would expect from someone who gets their legal advice from Reddit, that Randazza’s letter didn’t prove that the statements were true.

Your prompt response, while detailed about the law, is devoid of evidence that the claims made in the article are in fact accurate or true.  This is not surprising since they [sic] statements within the article are not in fact true.  As of my notice earlier today, your client is now on notice that the article contains materially false statements.  Should he persist in leaving the post online, unedited or corrected to conform the statements to the truth, I will have no choice but to seek court intervention to accomplish that result.

This is what you get when you try to be nice to a blithering idiot.  Boland has now worn out my sympathy. It was bad enough that Boland put his incredibly poor judgment on display way back when, but by eschewing the offer to drop this nonsense, wherein I would forget he ever did anything this idiotic and not write this post about him, he now has to live with the consequences of doubling down on his perpetual poor choices.

So Dean Boland, here’s my response to your threat. Bite me, asshole.

Update October 28:  I received an email from Dean Boland today offering his apology:

I have had time to reflect on my communication to you (and then your lawyer) regarding the posts on your blog.  I owe you an apology for the tone of that communication (accusatory) and the threat to litigate.

* * *

Otherwise, you have my apology and hopefully you can appreciate that people of good intentions and integrity can also make mistakes driven by emotion that they later reflect on and decide were bad decisions.

Apology accepted. I wish you the best of luck in resolving the issues you face, but will now bow out of further engagement about them.

25 thoughts on “Dean Boland Doubles Down On Stupid (Update)

  1. Kathleen Casey

    You wrote a post or two about The Streisand Effect didn’t you? You could consider linklove. ; ]

      1. Termy L. Cornall

        Guess which article now appears on the first page of Google results when you search for “Dean Boland”? I think Streisand Effect has definitely come into play.

  2. Vin

    At the risk of asking a question you don’t want to answer, can someone who quotes someone else’s defammation be accused of making a defamatory statement? (assuming the quoted statement is in fact defamatory)

    1. SHG Post author

      Oddly, Vin, this isn’t nearly as stupid a question as you might think (even though you framed your question particularly poorly). Even lawyers unfamiliar with defamation law aren’t aware of the answer. There is something called the “fair reporting privilege,” which as my dear Marco explains:

      “The publication of a fair and impartial report of [court documents] is privileged, unless it is proved that the same was published maliciously, or that defendant has refused or neglected to publish in the same manner in which the publication complaint of appeared.” O.R.C. § 2317.05. Furthermore, this privilege “does not require a ‘verbatim reproduction of the official record,’” just that it is “substantially accurate.” Sullins v. Raycom Media, Inc., 2013-Ohio-3530, p. 20 (8th Dist. 2013), quoting Oney v. Allen, 39 Ohio St. 3d 103, 529 N.E.2d 471 (1988); see also Young v. Gannett Satellite Info. Network, Inc., 837 F.Supp.2d 758, 763 (S.D. Ohio 2011).

      That the facts come from the 6th Circuit opinion precludes a claim of defamation. Imagine what would happen if we reported based on court decisions and the loser got to relitigate the underlying facts over and over as defamation, despite the court’s decision. The question is never whether it’s absolute truth, but whether we can rely on the source of the information to report or comment on the content.

  3. Mort

    You’d think Dean-o would be more upset about an article on another site that it titled “Lawyer in Hot Water for Photoshopping Child Porn.”

    But that seems to be a site that has, you know, STAFF. And in-house counsel. And insurance to pay for additional lawyers.

    So I can understand why Dean would opt to instead take Mssr. Greenfield to his opening night goat-fucking – solo blog from a lawyer in private practice… Surely such a man would more rapidly cave to, shall we say, dubious legal claims and theories.

    To paraphrase an old man in a movie: ‘He has chosen… poorly.”

    1. Peter Orlowicz

      That assumes Mr. Boland didn’t also send similar threatening notices to the other site you referenced. It’s not like he’s only allotted one frivolous legal threat, and decided to send it to SHG, he may have shotgunned a bunch of them and this is the only one we’ve heard about.

  4. anonymous coward

    I think the Ken White “snort my taint” is a better response here, but that may be a NY vs. CA thing.

    1. SHG Post author

      But if I stole that from Ken, I would just be a copy cat. That would be humiliating. Plus, it’s kinda my catch phrase. Granted, it’s no “snort my taint,” but it’s mine.

  5. david

    Why would you want him to bite your arsehole, even you phrase it with a pirate accent?
    I think a trigger warning was called for.

    1. David M.

      Cap’n Greenfield’s a blawgger-commander.
      It’s like being a pirate, but grander.
      The Curmudgeon, his galleon’s
      assailed by rapscallions
      from aboard the good ship Libelslander.

      1. david

        Maybe we could exhume Marlon Brando to play him in the movie . . . Pirates of the Caribbean 29 – Caveat Emptor!

  6. Patrick Maupin

    I’m probably not the only one who saw the headline and thought the contents were going to be a diatribe about a law school…

  7. Dan

    Is there enough difference between a “pre-trial diversion agreement” (6th Cir. Op., p. 2) and a “deferred prosecution agreement” to give Boland reason to be upset about your use of the latter phrase, rather than the former?

    He does at least get a couple of points for specifying the allegedly defamatory statements, something that most bogus defamation threats fail to do.

    1. SHG Post author

      No, but that’s not important. This is:

      On the criminal side, the government alleged that Boland’s conduct violated federal criminal child pornography laws, leading to a deferred prosecution agreement with him.

      . . . . .

      In his deferred prosecution agreement, he suggested as much, stipulating that he “downloaded at least four … images, from the Internet, depicting four … real, identifiable minors in innocent poses,” and then “digitally manipulated such images … to appear that each of the … minors was engaged in sexually explicit conduct.” R.73-1 at 10. In his apology, he added, “I do recognize that such images violate federal law.” Id. at 12.

      —Doe v. Boland, 630 F.3d 491 (6th Cir. 2011).

      The reason why specifying the allegedly defamatory statements matters is that one can then ascertain whether the statements are defamatory. He gets points for doing so, but loses them because they conclusively prove they’re not.

      1. Dan

        I hadn’t seen the phrase “deferred prosecution agreement” in the 2012 6th Circuit opinion, which was why I asked. But it’s definitely there in the 2011 opinion, as you point out. If there’s any way that’s incorrect, his beef is with the justices on the 6th Circuit. Of course, he wouldn’t be the first attorney litigant to claim that a judge had defamed him (hello, Joseph Rakofsky!).

  8. Pingback: Ohio Attorney Dean Boland Threatens Scott Greenfield, Badly | Popehat

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