The miserable excuse for a human being, Fred Phelps and two other members of his "church", the Westboro Baptist Church lost a civil suit brought in Federal court by the grieving father of a marine who died in Iraq. Albert Snyder of York, Pennsylvania had brought the suit as a private citizen who was the victim of a deliberately planned intentional infliction of emotional distress. The jury found unanimously for Mr. Snyder.
Albert Snyder of York, Pa., the father of a Westminster Marine who was killed in Iraq, today won his case in a Baltimore federal court against members of Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church who protested at his son's funeral last year.
The jury of five women and four men awarded Snyder $2.9 million in compensatory damages. The amount of punitive damages to be awarded has not yet been decided. The jury deliberated for about two hours yesterday and much of today.
Snyder was the first in the nation to attempt to hold members of Westboro Baptist Church legally liable for their shock protests at military funerals after the church protested the military's inclusion of gays at the funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder, a 2003 Westminster High School graduate who died March 3, 2006, in a vehicle accident in Anbar province.
The WBC people tried to have the suit dismissed – which the court rejected out of hand. I rather suspect that some of the language in that document may be what the appeal hinges on. Because some statements made by the WBC members were highly inflammatory and were made against a private citizen – not a public figure. That may – finally – shut the WBC down and stop their utterly appalling behavior.
More analysis from AllahPundit, (who also has an appalling story from Reuters), Captain's Quarters, Wake up America, Say Anything, Dread Pundit Bluto, The Belmont Club, Gateway Pundit, Stop The ACLU, Right Voices, VDG Gazette (Marc Moore), Brandywine Books,
UPDATE: AP is reporting that another $8,000,000 has been awarded in punative damages. Since the judge has already remarked that the initial award already exceeded all of the assets of the WBC crew, this will destroy them if the judgment stands up through appeal.
The jury first awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages. It returned in the afternoon with its decision to award $6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and $2 million for causing emotional distress.
Snyder's attorney, Craig Trebilcock, had urged jurors to determine an amount "that says don't do this in Maryland again. Do not bring your circus of hate to Maryland again."
My guess is that the circus clowns are not laughing right now.