Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Truth Will Cost You Money

I find the following story bizarre and disturbing. A jury has awarded damages to a fraudster because a blogger told the truth about him. Talk about making crime pay! A jury has decided to reward evil. Only in America!

From the Star Tribune out of Minneapolis Minnesota:
Though blogger John (Johnny Northside) Hoff told the truth when he linked ex-community leader Jerry Moore to a high-profile mortgage fraud, the scathing blog post that got Moore fired justifies $60,000 in damages, a Hennepin County jury decided Friday.

The jury awarded Moore $35,000 for lost wages and $25,000 for emotional distress.

Go read the original article for more details and a photo of the real victim of justice, a blogger!

I thought criminals were supposed to suffer. But apparently jurors in Minnesota think it is cruel make the guilty suffer, so instead they have decided to punish the good and make them suffer. Go figure!

But there is still hope for justice:
Jane Kirtley, a U of M professor of media law and ethics, called the lawsuit an example of "trash torts," in which someone unable to sue for libel, which by definition involves falsity, reaches for another legal claim. She predicted the verdict will be overturned.
The only problem with "hoping for justice" is that the legal system is a punishment in and of itself. Even if this blogger is able to quash the jury award, he is on the hook for a trial and an appeal which can easily be many, many tens of thousands of dollars. I figure he will be lucky to get off with less than $50,000 of lawyer fees.

So... in Minnesota, crime pays! And the lawyers stick it to you so that you really, really appreciate that crime pays!

What is funny is that the professor of media and law points out that while the blogger Johnny Northside apparently has no legal protection to tell the truth, the vicious slandering and vindictive Westboro Baptist Church gets the right to continue to picket burials of US soldiers and wave their signs with their repugnant message:
"This is based on expression, and expression enjoys First Amendment protection," Kirtley said. Just last week, she said, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protected the Westboro Baptist Church's antigay protests at military funerals.

"I find it really hard to believe that there was a degree of emotional distress caused by this reporting that outstrips that suffered by [a Marine's] family," Kirtley said.

The verdict also surprised U of M law professor William McGeveran, but he wasn't so certain that it will be easily overturned. Appeals courts tend to give a lot of credence to jury verdicts, he said.
So... there you go. American "justice". You have the right to slime if you are a degenerate, but you don't have the right to tell the truth if you a decent human being. Only in America!

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