Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Joe Scheidler cleared of rackeetering AGAIN

For ages, Planned Parenthood and NOW have been attempting to construe pro-life demonstrations in front of clinics as a form of extortion towards women seeking abortions. They have carried on a relentless campaign against Joe Scheidler et al.

And for the third time in twenty-one years, he's been cleared.

It's looking pretty desperate for NARAL.

Here's another news release. I don't understand this one as well:

Tom Brejcha, lead counsel for most of the defendants and President of Chicago's Thomas More Society and Pro-Life Law Center explains, "The plaintiffs designed this case as a huge dragnet and they cast it far and wide as if to encompass the entire pro-life activist movement in America. The law of 'res judicata' or 'claim preclusion' varies from state to state, but all pro-life activists who face lawsuits by their local abortion providers may have a defense based on today's final judgment. The judgment bars 'all claims that might have been brought in this case' on behalf of all class member abortion clinics. This is not just federal RICO or antitrust claims, but also state and local trespass or harassment claims of all sorts. As NOW and the other plaintiffs have met a final defeat, the tables are turned against them."

I don't entirely get that. Someone's going to have to elaborate on the details for us laypeople.


ProLifeBlogs did an interview with the lawyer involved in the case. He explains the meaning of the judgment:

It's a little complicated. It was a class action, which means all the clinics in the country, all the women in the country who are members of NOW, and any women who ever felt intimidated by pro-life people in the country were brought into this case.
NOW sued every pro-life activist organization with a title.

In a way the whole abortion crowd sued the whole pro-life activist movement. Importantly, all the clinics were involved except a few who dropped out. Then-PP president Alan Guttmacher sealed the list of involved clinics.

There's a doctrine in law that when you file a lawsuit, it has to include every claim A brings against B. NOW vs. Scheidler included every event and transaction that ever occurred with an abortion provider from 1984 for as long as the case was pending.

Now we have a final judgment that includes anyone in the pro-life movement who was accused of any wrong doing at or about the premises at an abortion clinic - threats, harrassement, disorderly conduct - if that clinic hasn't dropped out of the case. So this final judgmenet can be brought into oourt to say the case is barred against that pro-lifer, because all claims have been dismissed.

Any lawsuit filed against a pro-lifer since 1984 is potentially dismissable, up to the date of the jdugement.

The point is, NOW said our guys had to answer for anything anybody did in the pro-life movement. But it works both ways. They said on record the co-conspirators were up to one million people.

I am going to put a kit together to send papers to whoever needs it to raise a defense. Mr. and Mrs. Anybody may say that they won this case.

There's a lot of paper you could throw at any prosecutor in the country. Boy, I'm gonna get that paper ready to throw. They wanted to make this thing top down against activism. They asked for it, they got it.

I'm still a little bit disbelieving. If I understand correctly, if Joe Blo got charged with harrassment for passing out a pamphlet to a woman going for an abortion, the charges are invalid?

If that is the case, then WOW. That is truly amazing. I cannot believe the poor-choice movement was stupid enough to go ahead with this high-stakes gamble.

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