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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 10/31/2007 :  14:53:16  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Fred Phelps' merry, little band of perverts have had a $2.9 mil judgment against them.
BALTIMORE (Reuters) - A jury on Wednesday ordered a Kansas church to pay $2.9 million in compensatory damages to relatives of a gay U.S. Marine after church members cheered his death at his funeral.

The jury in federal court determined that the Westboro Baptist Church based in Topeka, and three of its principals had invaded the privacy of the dead man's family and inflicted emotional distress when they protested at his funeral last year.

The soldier's death was God's punishment on America for tolerating homosexuality, the church's members said.
It remains to be seen what will happen upon appeal, of course. But if nothing else, it will show them that they too, can be punished for barbaric behavior.





[Moved to the Religion folder - Dave W.]


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 10/31/2007 :  15:23:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yippee! CNN says the full final figure is even larger:
BALTIMORE, Maryland (AP) -- A grieving father won a nearly $11 million verdict Wednesday against a fundamentalist Kansas church that pickets military funerals in the belief that the war in Iraq is a punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

Albert Snyder of York, Pennsylvania., sued the Westboro Baptist Church for unspecified damages after members demonstrated at the March 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.

The jury first awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages. It returned later in the afternoon with its decision to award $6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and $2 million for causing emotional distress.
You know, this feels exactly right. The Guvment didn't take away the Phelpes' right to expression, but they are being held accountable in civil court.

Making paupers of the bastards, not martyrs. Perfect!


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2996 Posts

Posted - 10/31/2007 :  16:03:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm praying that the award is upheld! Praise Science!

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 10/31/2007 :  16:14:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Awesome!

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 10/31/2007 :  16:29:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Here's one I phound, just for Phred:




Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Randy
SFN Regular

USA
1990 Posts

Posted - 10/31/2007 :  17:51:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Randy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good old You Tube came through again. I did a quick search looking for a segment on Michael Moore's show "Awful Truth" he did on Fred Phelps, and the video was there!
Enjoy!.......
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33-_9nOX8KM

"We are all connected; to each other biologically, to the earth chemically, to the rest of the universe atomically."

"So you're made of detritus [from exploded stars]. Get over it. Or better yet, celebrate it. After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?"
-Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Edited by - Randy on 10/31/2007 17:55:28
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 10/31/2007 :  23:17:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think the amount of the damages awarded is insane. $2Million for emotional distress?
I can't believe it...
But then, it's a completely different culture in Sweden where I live.

However, those idiots in the God Hates Fags fan-club must be stopped. If making them destitute enough so they can't afford to travel across the country to trespass on private funerals is the only way to stop them then, by all means, hit them hard.
In fact, I'm surprised no one of them have been shot yet.


Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2007 :  00:41:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

I think the amount of the damages awarded is insane. $2Million for emotional distress?
I can't believe it...
But then, it's a completely different culture in Sweden where I live.

However, those idiots in the God Hates Fags fan-club must be stopped. If making them destitute enough so they can't afford to travel across the country to trespass on private funerals is the only way to stop them then, by all means, hit them hard.
In fact, I'm surprised no one of them have been shot yet.


On the other hand, your Swedish laws and police would probably have stopped the bigoted funeral demonstration at the outset, if not before. In the US, suing for money is often the best or only effective way to get justice.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 11/01/2007 00:41:45
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2007 :  06:35:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner
[On the other hand, your Swedish laws and police would probably have stopped the bigoted funeral demonstration at the outset, if not before. In the US, suing for money is often the best or only effective way to get justice.

Right now, I can't think of anything remotely similar to the funeral picketing, in Sweden.

If sanity among the population follows the classic bell-curve, then Sweden will have an insignificant amount of people, if any at all, who are as bat-shit crazy as the Phelps-clan, thanks to the difference in population size.


Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
Edited by - Dr. Mabuse on 11/01/2007 06:36:24
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chaloobi
SFN Regular

1620 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2007 :  07:05:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send chaloobi a Yahoo! Message Send chaloobi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is good. I think.

I mean, what these guys were/are doing is beyond any doubt (for me anyway) indecent and vile. How they can mesh it with worship of Jesus Christ is beyond my understanding. I'm glad they've been heartily spanked for their bad behavior. I just wish they were capable of feeling the shame they should be feeling - that would be a worse punishment, I think.

But I get nervous when speech is limited. If I understand it correctly, this is a civil lawsuit brought by the family against the Phelps croud and the reward comes by jury decision. So this is not a government action, but there's all sorts of groups that would love to restrict protests and other speech against them via catastrophic economic damage. My gut says this is a special case - the emotion involved and the particularly heinous actions of Phelps led to the decision and huge awards damages. I don't see Exxon pulling a similar case off against, say, Greenpeace and shutting them down... they are not likely to ever have the jury on their side like in this case.

-Chaloobi

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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2007 :  07:19:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Anyone have any background on this? Just because I'm "emotionally distressed" by something does that give me the right to sue, and to win a suit? If they have trespassed on private property, or created a disturbance, are there not laws to help people with that? Is this about slander or defamation of character? I'm sure there's a lot I'm missing as this sounds bizarre, just from reading this.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2007 :  07:54:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Gorgo

Anyone have any background on this? Just because I'm "emotionally distressed" by something does that give me the right to sue, and to win a suit? If they have trespassed on private property, or created a disturbance, are there not laws to help people with that? Is this about slander or defamation of character? I'm sure there's a lot I'm missing as this sounds bizarre, just from reading this.
I'm sure that the decision had a lot to do with everybody being totally sick of Westboro's shit. That's neither fair nor proper, but there you have it.

I'm also certain that the award will be considerably cut upon appeal.

I would think that organized harressment by strangers at a solemn, family occasion should indeed be punished by lawsuit, if not violent retaliation, and if perhaps not for quite so much.

I often wonder that none of the Westboro idiots have, as yet, been shot.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2007 :  08:11:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That's neither fair nor proper, but there you have it.


I'm definitely missing something. I understand the reaction, but I guess I don't know the whole story as this sounds very bizarre to take someone to court because you don't like something someone said.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



Edited by - Gorgo on 11/01/2007 08:13:21
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2007 :  08:23:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So this is not a government action,


Courts are not part of the government? True, this is not restricting speech beforehand, but I thought the limits after were based on damage and intent to do damage. Is emotional distress alone considered damage? What limit does that have?

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2007 :  09:19:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Gorgo

So this is not a government action,
Courts are not part of the government?
The government didn't bring the lawsuit. The government's role was in moderating a dispute between two citizens, heard and decided by a jury of other citizens.

Citizens can file lawsuits against other citizens for any reason. I recall one woman, years ago, who sued her neighbor's kids for playing basketball in their driveway in the afternoon. The bouncing ball was too loud for her. She apparently made a good living suing various people in her community for a variety of reasons.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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chaloobi
SFN Regular

1620 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2007 :  09:29:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send chaloobi a Yahoo! Message Send chaloobi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Gorgo

So this is not a government action,


Courts are not part of the government? True, this is not restricting speech beforehand, but I thought the limits after were based on damage and intent to do damage. Is emotional distress alone considered damage? What limit does that have?
Like DW said, the government provided the framework for mediating the dispute (the court) but the suit itself was brought by a private citizen and the jury was composed of private citizens.

I'm not sure about the rest of what you said. I think 11 million bucks compensation for having your child's funeral interupted by jack-asses is objectively in excess. But subjectively, those assholes deserve the punishment. And the jury was acting more subjectively, I'm sure. Will it stand on appeal? I tend to think not, but I wish it would.

-Chaloobi

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