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Originally posted by Jessicamsa
What gets me is that these people are not even protesting the war. They are protesting homosexuality. So, why cannot these families file a defamation of character lawsuit against these people since they are there inferring/implying that the deceased was a homosexual when most of the deceased are not homosexual? Maybe if Phelps and his ilk lost a few of those lawsuits they would back off.
2/4/2008 - Judge Bennett granted in part Defendants' motion for remittitur and cut the jury award down to $5 million, applying both federal constitutional and state common law standards. The courtleft the jury's compensatory damage award of$2.9 million intact but reduced the total punitive damages to $2.1million.
2/11/2008 - Phelps filed statement of intent to appeal.
9/24/2008 - The Fourth Circuit issued an opinion reversing the judgment of the district court and vacating the jury award. The appellate court found the Phelps' speech (both website and picketing) protected by the First Amendment.
Originally posted by misinformationl
Phelps would not be convicted with defamation (libel and slander). Defamation in the U.S. is stating something as fact. So if the defendant simply states that he was not stating whatever as fact, but he was voicing his opinion, he is not guilty of legal defamation, period.
And as a lawyer, Phelps will defend his statements as they were his opinion.
Defamation law in the United States is much less plaintiff-friendly than its counterparts in European and the Commonwealth countries. In the United States, a comprehensive discussion of what is and is not libel or slander is difficult, because the definition differs between different states, and under federal law. Some states codify what constitutes slander and libel together into the same set of laws. Criminal libel is rare or nonexistent, depending on the state. Defenses to libel that can result in dismissal before trial include the statement being one of opinion rather than fact or being "fair comment and criticism". Truth is always a defense.
So why are you putting yourselves in jeopardy for this?
Is Phelps really worth going to jail over?
Originally posted by misinformational
This is a tough one. Phelps actions are obviously immoral and disgusting. I hate to think that religious bigots like Phelps are allowed to disgrace the funeral proceedings of one that lost his life serving his country. But can we allow the government to infringe on our 1st Amendment Rights? Wouldn't this just be precedent for allowing further infringement?
As much as it disgusts me to say, I think this judge made the right call. Perhaps though, there can be middle ground. Any ideas?
(visit the link for the full news article)
[edit - grammar]
[edit on 16-8-2010 by misinformational]
Common actions that do not constitute disturbing the peace may include:
•Engaging in horseplay;
•Simply embarrassing someone;
•Merely annoying someone;
•Accidentally bumping into someone;
•Giving someone a gesture such as the middle finger, (sometimes even against a police officer).
However, if a person's non-violent actions are likely to incite violence or public disorder, criminal liability may apply.