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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Phelps Phucked

posted by on October 31 at 13:16 PM

This just went up on Drudge

JURY HATES PHELPS: The father of a fallen Marine awarded $2.9 million by jury that found leaders of a fundamentalist church had invaded the family’s privacy when they picketed the Marine’s funeral. Developing…

UPDATE: Wow, they’re really phucked. It looks like Phelps and his despicable family aren’t just on the hook for $2.9 million. That’s merely the compensatory damages awarded by the jury. Now the jury gets to decide how much Phelps must pay in punitive damages. The Washington Post has the story.

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You just know that he really does want to be phucked in a literal up-the-ass kind of way.

This news makes my day.

Posted by MN Gay Dude | October 31, 2007 1:37 PM

this is even better news than the Richard Curtis stuff!

Posted by jameyb | October 31, 2007 1:44 PM

i'm waiting for a schadenfreude trifecta...

Posted by scary tyler moore | October 31, 2007 1:52 PM

Now his heart attack & death...

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 31, 2007 1:55 PM

i'm glad and i'm worried. i'm glad because this is what the phelps groups deserves, and seems a common sense verdict. i'm worried that it may in some way undermine free speech, though the same common sense would lead me to think not.

Posted by infrequent | October 31, 2007 1:59 PM

As nice as this is to see from a pure schadenfreude perspective, anyone who's followed Phelps' exploits over the past few years knows that there is zero chance of a single penny of this judgment ever being collected.

Now, could this be the final straw that pushes the Phelps cult into full on Koresh/Jones territory? We can only hope.

Posted by Doctor Memory | October 31, 2007 2:11 PM

I'm glad they won, but the case will be overturned on appeal, most likely.

Posted by glad they won | October 31, 2007 2:21 PM

infrequent @5,

I don't think this undermines free speech -- check out the doctrine of "fighting words" -- but there is some novelty here in the issue of whether protesting a funeral does or does not target the family of the deceased.

Anyway, I'm sure Phelps would like nothing better than the attention of a Supreme Court case to explore the question in full. It's a pity that he might get it. But regardless of how far this goes on appeal, no need to worry about the 1st amendment -- it'll be just fine.

Posted by Eric Arrr | October 31, 2007 2:24 PM

Anyone taking odds on the likelihood of a Preznidential Pardon?

Posted by COMTE | October 31, 2007 3:13 PM

Much as I loath the entire Phelps gang, and would like nothing better than to see old man Phelps keel over with a stroke, I think this was a dubious case. I suspect it has a good chance of being overturned on appeal. I, for one, would hate to see free speech rights curtailed. If Phelps not being able to protest at funerals eventually lead to me not being able to protest the war, I would look back on this decision with regret.

On the other hand, it sure feels good to see them taken down a notch. Those assholes deserve every bit of bad karma coming their way.

Posted by SDA in SEA | October 31, 2007 3:30 PM

Dear Lord, there is a god!

Posted by Lil'Boy Blue | October 31, 2007 3:40 PM

Freedom of speech is not an absolute. You can't yell "fire" in a crowded theatre when there's no fire, and you can't tell someone to "kill John Doe."

Why it's not OK to tell people to kill "John Doe," but it is OK to say kill all of the "John Does [insert hated group here]," remains a mystery.

Posted by Original Andrew | October 31, 2007 3:44 PM

The problem I have with the "fighting words" doctrine is that the crap hurled by Phelps' group doesn't even target the deceased or his/her family. Their rant is usually about us fags, our destruction of America, God's punishment thereof, etc. They're not usually calling the soldiers gay (? whether that's an insult, also), they're not attacking the family: it's all about "America sucks and that's why this happens." Is that a fighting offense for a relative of the deceased?

Even the judges' instructions to the jury ("... whether these actions were so offensive and shocking as to not be entitled to First Amendment protection.") are wishy-washy: how does the juror know whether the actions are or not? Are they applying binding Supreme Court precedent or voting their gut?

Posted by torrentprime | October 31, 2007 3:48 PM

But does Phelps actually have any money? They obviously haven't been wasting their cash on dentistry or cosmetic surgery, but is this actually going to be something that stops them, or slows them down?

Posted by Boomer in NYC | October 31, 2007 4:19 PM

puh-leeze...the Phatass Phelps Klan are all lawyers...they'll drag this out for years and all the way to the Supreme Court if they have to and as much as I despise the Phelps's they might actually have a case.

And the Phelp's themselves don't have any money, but their Westboro Church does get a lot of financial support from nutjob bigots. Sidenote to the Phelp's financial situation; after Fred got disbarred and started his crusade, his kids sold candy door to door to support the family...

moral of the story; be very cautious who you buy bandcandy from...

Posted by michael strangeways | October 31, 2007 4:29 PM

Man, forget punitive damages, let's see some crazy amount of community service hours that will keep him and his gang out of the public eye for a decade.

Posted by Chris in Tampa | October 31, 2007 4:38 PM

Another $8 mil in punitives. Sweet.

And the protection for free speech is only against state (governmental) action. Read the Constitution. Libel, slander and, as in this case, the infliction of emotional distress, still can subject you to civil damages. Plus, even if there were state action involved, there is no absolute right to free speech at a private funeral, for crying out loud. It's not a "public forum."

Posted by kk | October 31, 2007 5:07 PM

I'm with Doctor Memory @6. Mass suicide, please!

Posted by Fnarf | October 31, 2007 5:39 PM

It won't hold up on appeal. So long as they were on public property during their protest, they were within their rights, even if they were making themselves into the biggest dickwads on the planet in doing so. Phelps may be crazy, but he's still a shrewd enough lawyer to know how to toe the legal line.

Posted by Ferin | October 31, 2007 6:27 PM

This all sounds to good to be true. For some reason I think Phelps will win in the end. You know, cos the Devil's on his side and all.

Posted by Wes | October 31, 2007 8:29 PM

This all sounds to good to be true. For some reason I think Phelps will win in the end. You know, cos the Devil's on his side and all.

Posted by Wes | October 31, 2007 8:29 PM

Thank God for the man who sued them, thank God for the Jury who awarded it and I pray to God that no judge will give the Phelps a hearing.

Posted by anonymus | October 31, 2007 10:14 PM

LOVE this jury and this judge. TOTALLY off base. Phelps et al are real dogs and I have had a great time on picket lines calling them foul names and making them go into red faced frenzy.

BUT they are the most protected segment in America as a church - to fend off any Constitutional challenges. And they are a church.

The Old Testament of the Bible, which as we all hear so often is the voice of god, is full of godly wrath inflicted on numerous groups because of their offenses. Churches can preach all that stuff ad nauseum and in any creative way they wish.

And the street corner is the bastion of free speech for ANYONE.

Church rantings plus free speech trumps any sense of honor or dignity which normal people feel about a funeral. They have already carefully crafted another piece of the defense in that these protests are generic and not directed to any one dead person.

Of course we all know that when the small but powerful quake takes place in Kansas, and the earth opens and their entire church family, building and all, drops into a giant hole - well - then it is just the Devil bringing them back home.

The worst words in English are not adequate to nominate these people. Heinous, loathsome, odious - all too tame.

Remember years ago when they attacked our Greta here in Seattle - had a great counter picket across the street from them, on 4th Ave. Great spirited group of 400-500 fags and dykes, and free speech all around as we shouted coarse, vulgar and filthy insults at them.

Old man Fred gets very red in the face. The women of the Phelps clan destroy all childhood images given to you by mom and granny about the kind and gentle gender.

Posted by Raphael | October 31, 2007 11:23 PM

JUST too ghoul - Adrian help me, Fred in the news on Halloween night.

I want to go smash some pumpkins. I have been on several counter pickets as well - Father dog shit Fred get all excited and red - you start praying that HE will have a stroke and die in front of you. You and friends shout louder using every insult you have ever heard anywhere.

But it really is just HIS sexual tension releasing - such a pervert. He did bring the word fag back into vogue. Picketing that fool I am proud to be one angrrry and out loud fag, you bet.

Posted by little JOHN homeboy | October 31, 2007 11:37 PM

Has anyone ever asked Phelps why God is punishing the United States of America for acceptance (tolerance)of homosexuals when God, apparently, doesn't care what other nations (which are MUCH more accepting of homosexuals) think about giving homosexuals the right to marry one another?

Do any of his congregation even have the intelligence to wonderwhy this is?

Phelps followers...Get a phucking life. Stop being cattle to your closet-case moron leader!


Posted by lawrence clark | November 1, 2007 3:25 AM

"Religious views are expressly protected by the First Amendment. You can't prosecute a preacher in civil law or in criminal law for what he preaches."

Maybe it's time we change that. Just because you choose to embrace a trendy mythology doesn't mean you deserve special protections when you talk about it. After all, it's just make-believe.

Posted by Jake | November 1, 2007 4:49 AM

I want to be happy about this but I know it's far from over. They've been preparing for this fight long before they ever drew up their protest signs.

Posted by monkey | November 1, 2007 7:24 AM

Special note to the ones asking why the followers are not asking why:

Most fanatics of any organized religious group are plain stupid, mindless drones. We see examples in much of christian history (Crusades, Witchhunts, Nazzi, KKK, Skinheads).

Posted by KittenComputerGoddess | November 1, 2007 12:04 PM

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