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Anger over bill to Marine's dad
Money sent man told to pay court costs in suit against pickets at son’s funeral
By Robbie Whelan | [email protected]

10:08 PM EDT, March 30, 2010

Outraged that the father of a dead U.S. Marine was ordered to pay the court costs incurred by a group that he had sued for picketing his son's funeral, people from across the country have launched a grass roots fundraising effort to help the grieving family.

"I was appalled," said Sally Giannini, a 72-year-old retired bookkeeper from Spokane, Wash., who had called The Baltimore Sun after seeing its story about the court decision against Albert Snyder. "I believe in free speech, but this goes too far."

Living on fixed income, Giannini said she could only send $10 toward the $16,510.80 that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Snyder to pay to Fred Phelps, leader of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., an anti-gay group that travels the country picketing military funerals. The group says soldier deaths are God's punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuality.

Snyder sued Westboro because its members waved signs saying "God hates ****" and "God hates the USA" at the 2006 funeral in Westminster of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who had been killed in Iraq. A federal jury in Baltimore awarded Snyder $11 million in damages in 2007, saying that Phelps' group intentionally inflicted emotional distress on the family. The award was later reduced to $5 million, and eventually overturned on appeal.

As news of the order to pay Westboro's court costs spread through the media and online, strangers were moved to send money and set up funds to support Snyder's court battle.

On Tuesday, Mark C. Seavey, new media director for the American Legion, posted a message on his Legion-affiliated blog, The Burn Pit, urging readers to donate to the Albert Snyder Fund. The American Legion's message was picked up by conservative political blogger Michelle Malkin, who called the Westboro protesters "evil miscreants" and urged readers to donate.

"Regardless of how you feel about the merits of the Snyders' suit, the Snyders deserve to know that Americans are forever grateful for their son's heroism and for the family's sacrifice. We shouldn't stand by and watch them bankrupted," Malkin wrote.

Money from donations will go toward covering the money owed to Phelps, and beyond that, toward preparing further appeals, Seavey said.

"As soon as we heard this we just knew that it was going to go through the roof, and people were going to be upset. We seized on it," Seavey said. "On an issue like this that cuts across political lines, it's relatively easy, and it's the kind of fight we want to wade into because it's not right or left, it's right or wrong. We're going to do the best we can to make sure that Mr. Snyder doesn't have to deal with this. We're going to make sure he doesn't have to pay a red cent."

In a phone interview Tuesday, Snyder said he was "exhausted" by the long legal ordeal, but heartened by the outpouring of support. He said he has received about 3,000 e-mail messages from people across the country who wanted to show their support and planned to contribute.

"It kind of restores your faith in mankind after dealing with this wacko church," Snyder said. "Win or lose, I'll know that I did everything I could for Matt, and for all the soldiers and Marines who are still coming home dying."

From Web sites to Twitter pages, people were galled that the grieving father of a fallen Marine would have to pay a group that uses such inflammatory tactics. A Facebook group called "I support Al Snyder in His fight against Westboro Baptist Church" had drawn nearly 12,000 members by the end of the day Tuesday.

In September, the 4th Circuit Court threw out the Baltimore jury's award to Snyder on free speech grounds. A month later, Westboro filed a motion to recoup court costs from both the original suit and the appeal, for a total of $96,740.21. Friday's judgment covers only costs from the appeal.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed this month to hear a new appeal of the case, which experts say is being closely watched by 1st Amendment advocates. If the Supreme Court sides with Snyder, he won't have to pay Westboro's court costs.

"The most alarming part is that [the 4th Circuit] sat on it for months, and only ruled on it after the Supreme Court agreed to hear it," said Sean E. Summers, Snyder's York, Pa.-based lawyer. "The other troubling fact was that we were trying to raise about $20,000 to file a Supreme Court brief. Now we have [to raise] another $16,500. ...There are definitely extenuating circumstances, given that Mr. Snyder doesn't have the resources to pay."

Snyder, who lives in York, does in-house sales for a small electronics firm and, according to court filings, earns $43,000 a year.

Gene Policinski, executive director of the First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tenn., predicted that the Supreme Court will not address issues of where protesters are permitted to demonstrate, as it has in the past in the case of abortion protesters. Instead, he said, the case is important because "it has the potential to define whether we're going to create a new exemption to freedom of speech that is emotionally distressing."

"You can imagine that Martin Luther King and others inflicted emotional distress on people, if they were committed to segregation," he said. "I shudder to think if those people were armed with the weapon of suing him because the issue itself was repugnant to them."

For some supporters, the issue is not so much the right to free speech as the right to a peaceful burial of the fallen soldiers.

Alice M. Johnson, 56, of Lynbrook, N.Y., said she donated $50 to Snyder's cause. Since 2008, Johnson has been a member of the Patriot Guard Riders, a group that sends supporters to troops' funerals to shield their families from protesters.

"I agree that people have the right to free speech," she said, "but that should not be allowed in a place where people are laying their children to rest who died for their country."

http://michellemalkin.com/2010/03/3...ly-of-fallen-marine-lance-cpl-matthew-snyder/

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bal-westboro0330,0,5223370,print.story
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Let me see if I understand this correctly. Two guys engage in what many people consider to be a college prank, and leave cotton balls outside the black student center at college, and they get charged with a felony. Some kid gets on the P.A. at Wal Mart, and says for all blacks to leave the store, and he has several charges filed against him. However, this scumbag, from a fake church, can engage in the most sick and vile form of hate speech at the funeral of a fallen hero and face no legal repercussions?
 

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Jagenden Übel
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Let me see if I understand this correctly. Two guys engage in what many people consider to be a college prank, and leave cotton balls outside the black student center at college, and they get charged with a felony. Some kid gets on the P.A. at Wal Mart, and says for all blacks to leave the store, and he has several charges filed against him. However, this scumbag, from a fake church, can engage in the most sick and vile form of hate speech at the funeral of a fallen hero and face no legal repercussions?
No, you are incorrect.

The victim of the vile and sick form of hate speech now has to pay these pieces of garbage $16000.

You missed that.
 

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Crazy CO
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No, you are incorrect.

The victim of the vile and sick form of hate speech now has to pay these pieces of garbage $16000.

You missed that.
And, quite frankly I am pissed that they are allowed to even name the name of Christ. But, they are not the first group who do things in God's Name, and He not approve of those.
 

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Florist
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I would refuse to pay, even with the donated monies.
 

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BOOSH
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If this is the group that I'm thinking of, they have shown up at soldiers funerals with signs saying things like "Thank God for IEDs" and the like. I used to work with a guy that did a tour in Iraq that since the people were allowed to protest, but only within some designated area, that he would find it terribly ironic if an IED went off right in the middle of their protest.

I have to agree. :supergrin:
 

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Heavy Mettle
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And, quite frankly I am pissed that they are allowed to even name the name of Christ. But, they are not the first group who do things in God's Name, and He not approve of those.
Absolutely.

Moreover, it seems that the groups behavior and place is likely to provoke a violent response. Why are local LE not filing DOC charges everywhere they show up?
 

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Crazy CO
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I got this from my FB sources.

Recent News


News:
Supreme court takes Case.
Al Snyder is now responsible for paying over $16,000 in legal fees for the Westboro Baptist Church. To donate to help Mr. Snyder please click on the website above and click How to Help and Make a Donation Online, we really appreciate it.

GREAT NEWS! Bill O'Reilly has just announced that he will pay the entire amount that AL SNYDER owes to those people!!!!

PLEASE keep in mind that any donations in excess will be used to begin the Matt Snyder Fund!
 

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Crazy CO
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Yes, the court system is a double-edged sword.

This "church" is comprised of immediate Phelps family members and they are all lawyers. They use the "church" name for tax exemption status. Even the true Baptist organizations have denounced them. The only reason they exist is to make money in lawsuits exactly like this one.

Have personally seen their demonstrations and yes they are disgusting to every patriotic American. No greiving family should ever be put through that let alone one that had a son or daughter make the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Michigan began developing tactics to handle the Phelps. Their requested demonstration permits were issued. But they were restricted to a specifically described location with exact dimensions and time durations. Some of the more ingenious sheriffs placed that location on the opposite side of the road from the funeral and then contacted the local school departments to park every single school bus between the Phelps and the building.

Not only could they not be seen, they were so far away, they could not be heard. Then at the invitation of the family, the Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) placed themselves, along with other retired military, American Legion and other organizations between the Phelps clan and the grieving families.

After their usual antics and signs did not generate any new cash (because nobody attacked them) they quickly became just a rumor. When it was mentioned on their website that they were coming to Michigan, hundreds of PGR would show up only to find that the Phelps clan was nowhere to be found. Their demonstration permit unused. More money drained.

If the court system rewards them based on the First Amendment rights, why are they not arrested for attempts to incite a riot? Wrong method. Remember, they are laywers and this is exactly what they want you to do. They run up court costs on small municipalities that cannot pay so they settle out of court. They pay them to go away. The Phelps' clan piggy bank grows larger, paying for more trips to more soldier's funerals to try and earn more appearances in court and more money.

This is the recommended way of handling them:
Put up a wall of humanity with your backs turned and when they start shouting at you and calling you a ***, sing "God Bless America" or the Marine Corp anthem or any other patriotic song you can think of and sing it LOUD.

Don't try and fight them in the street.
Don't try and fight them in court.
Don't go near them.
Don't touch them.

Hard as that may seem, it's the only way that will peacefully work.

This information was quickly passed to all LE organizations, the PGR and Legion Riders. It became standard protocol that this was the way to handle them. Let them pay for hotel bills, car rental and travel expenses. Drain their money but don't fall into their trap.

The state legislature quickly passed a law placing the minimum distance between a demonstration and any funeral, funeral procession or graveside ceremony at 1,000 feet. They don't show up in Michigan anymore.

They think they are on a mission from God. Eventually they will find out. May His justice be swift and sure.

HH
Pretty much everything you mentioned concerning this group is spot on. They have been a sore in the side of Kansas for some time now. They have tried to pass some laws concerning this group in the Kansas Legislature but they cannot do but so much of course, in that they do have a certain amount of Free Speech protection.

Don't worry, they're going to get theirs at some point. I think they just don't understand the genie that they have unleashed currently, with the publicity that has been recently generated.
 

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Fear Dli
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I no longer care about the westbury scum and the *****1ng Phelps Phamily. Thanks to the great folks at the Patriot Guard Riders and the Warriors Watch, these scum rarely get anywhere near the families of the fallen. I joined the Patriot Guard after we had a funeral in my city. The scum announced they would attend, and I witnessed a beautiful sight.....100s of bikers rolling into town wearingthe blue and yellow to protect the family and block the scum. GOD bless, everyone.

What P1sses me off is that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Mister Snyder to pay. WTF!?!?!?!?!
 

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Crazy CO
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I no longer care about the westbury scum and the *****1ng Phelps Phamily. Thanks to the great folks at the Patriot Guard Riders and the Warriors Watch, these scum rarely get anywhere near the families of the fallen. I joined the Patriot Guard after we had a funeral in my city. The scum announced they would attend, and I witnessed a beautiful sight.....100s of bikers rolling into town wearingthe blue and yellow to protect the family and block the scum. GOD bless, everyone.

What P1sses me off is that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Mister Snyder to pay. WTF!?!?!?!?!
Court costs and attorney fees IIRC. Bad I know, but they are going to get the money from someone.
 

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I know, but they should pick up old Fred by his ankles and shake the money out of his tight *****.
Be more fitting if they picked him up by the neck. With a rope. Makes his tight cornhole relax so much faster than by shaking him upside down.


I'm just saying...
 

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I need AMMO!
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Thee people are pimples on the backside of humanity.

I'm just saying is all.
 

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I will be happy to take a DOC charge for a mutual fight. Fighting words by them, and fists of furry by me. We can both pay fines. I will take the three days off from my work for it, and ask for a jury to decided my fate for the charges.

Screw them!
 

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Crazy CO
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I will be happy to take a DOC charge for a mutual fight. Fighting words by them, and fists of furry by me. We can both pay fines. I will take the three days off from my work for it, and ask for a jury to decided my fate for the charges.

Screw them!
Do it down there at night. Take them down one at a time. Hide in an undisclosed location and make them wonder. Don't let them die, keep them alive. Placed in a nice little swamp full of their own kind.

Ooh I can be mean. Unfortunately it would be highly illegal.
 

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Florist
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Yes, the best way to fight people who hide behind the 1st A is to attack with more 1st A.

This is the recommended way of handling them:
Put up a wall of humanity with your backs turned and when they start shouting at you and calling you a ***, sing "God Bless America" or the Marine Corp anthem or any other patriotic song you can think of and sing it LOUD.
BTW, IMHO "God Bless America" should be our national anthem. It's a beautiful, beautiful song and the lyrics are easily learned.
 
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