express malice – intent to kill or inflict injury arising from a deliberate, rational mind, or, in defamation cases, uttering or publishing a defamatory statement that is false, or with reckless disregard about whether the statement is true

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express malice:

1. Criminal law. The intent to kill or seriously injure arising from a deliberate, rational mind.

2. See actual malice (1).

3. Defamation. The bad faith publication of defamatory material. [1]

1. A deliberate or premeditated design to inflict injury or take life. 26 Am J1st Homi § 38.

For the purposes of the law of defamation, malice in fact as distinguished from implied malice. 33 Am J1st L & S § 111. [2]

1. For the purpose of first degree murder, a deliberate or premeditated design to inflict injury or take life.

2. For the purposes of the law of defamation, malice in fact is distinguished from implied malice. [3]

actual malice:

1. The deliberate intent to commit an injury, as evidenced by external circumstances. — aka express malice; malice in fact.

2. Defamation. Knowledge (by the person who utters or publishes a defamatory statement) that a statement is false, or reckless disregard about whether the statement is true.  *  To recover for defamation, a plaintiff who is a public official or public figure must overcome the defendant’s qualified privilege by proving the defendant’s actual malice.  And for certain other types of claims, a plaintiff must prove actual malice to recover presumed or punitive damages. — aka New York Times malice; constitutional malice; common-law malice. [1]

1. Real as distinguished from legal or technical malice. 30 Am J Rev ed Interf § 45.

Hatred, ill will, or hostility entertained by one person toward another. 34 Am J1st Mal §§ 2, 3.

Although the cases are not entirely in accord, it would appear that the better view is that wantonness may amount to actual malice. Crane v New York World Tel. Corp. 308 NY 470, 126 NE2d 753, 52 ALR2d 1169.  Compare 34 Am J1st Mal § 3. [2]

1. Malice that is present in the form of a specific intent to kill or to do bodily injury; malice in fact. [3]

malice in fact:

1. Actual malice; a positive desire and intention to annoy or injure another person. Gamble v Keyes, 43 SD 245, 178 NW 870.

In overcoming privilege, a motive which induces the defendant to defame the plaintiff. Hemmers v Nelson, 138 NY 517, 34 NE 342. [2]

1. Actual malice; express malice; a positive intention to injure another person.  Malice in fact deprives a defendant in a defamation action of the ability to defend on the ground that his statement is privileged.
     See conditionally privileged communication. [3]


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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.


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