Is Westboro Baptist Church guilty of perjury?

In a reversal of a lower court decision, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has awarded Westboro Baptist Church more than $16,000 in costs in their defense of a lawsuit brought by the family of a marine killed in Iraq after the the Phelps clan picketed his funeral.

However, following the ruling, Margie Phelps (daughter of patriarch Fred Phelps) said the award would be used to finance future demonstrations at military funerals:

Is this evidence that the claims of expenses were misrepresented to the court, and the Phelps are using the award as a profit source to fund their picketing? If so, why are they not guilty of perjury and subject to prosecution?

Because she wasn’t under oath when she said it?

And the fact that if she was, someone would have already called her up on it.

The claim that they had $16,000 in court cost was under oath, however.

The ruling was just issued on Friday, so her statement was after that. The wheels of justice aren’t racing slicks, y’know.

I’m guessing the courts have a better understanding of the concept of “cash flow” than some.

I yield to none in my detestation of the Phelps Phools, but come on.


I expect that Westboro has already paid the $16,000 in copying costs out of operating funds. The copy company probably would not work on spec, letting its bills go unpaid.

The award is reimbursement, and they are free to use it as they please.

So you think some average joe on a message board has brought it up before a person involed in the case has?

Agreed. Another sign of the coming apocalypse. Sigh.:rolleyes:

The ruling allows reimbursement of expenses, what they put out they were entitled to get back. Before this ruling the WBC had $16,000 less because of the legal defense, which could have gone to anything they wished, but that wish was taken away, the courts returned that wish.

It does make sense in a poetic justice way to use this for further picketing. (not that I support the picketing).

I’m more curious why they get reimbursed at all? I thought, in general, your legal fees are your problem. I know there are exceptions but WBC chose to appeal (fine) and they won the appeal. Where in that are they supposed to be reimbursed for appealing?

I don’t know a whole lot about this, but apparently the federal appeals courts have a rule (Rule 39) that allows a winning party to “tax” certain costs related to an appeal against a losing party. I don’t think attorneys’ fees can be claimed as part of these costs and photocopying costs seems to be a big part of it.

Yes, I seem to remmeber seeing that he protested the court-ordered copying rate of 50 cents per page, and was unsuccessful. That rate sounds absurdly high to me, but maybe there’s some ancient statutory rate in effect. These numbers suggest about 8000 pages or about four boxes, which doesn’t sound unreasonable.

That’s not outrageous - it isn’t like the only cost is putting the dimes into the machine at the library - there is also handling costs etc rolled into the per page price.

They are guilty of assholish behavior of the highest order, but not perjury.

I think the thought behind this is since the court ruled in their favor, they were in the right and should not have to pay for doing the right thing but someone thinks you are wrong.

Thought the Brits did it this way. My understanding was losers generally did not pay winners court costs in the US (again I know there are exceptions…e.g. you violated a court order to pay me and I had to go back to court to enforce the order then you have to pay my legal costs).

This is clearly an exception in the American legal system. As I said before, this is clearly a limited kind of “taxing” applicable only to certain kinds of costs (not fees) incurred in an appeal to a U.S. appeals court.

I heard earlier the Bill O’Reilly paid the $16,000 tab. Good for him.

I first heard about the judgment 3 or four days And I was kind of amazed there weren’t several hundred public offers to pay for it in the first hour. Cynically setting aside the folks who would have because of conscience , there are tons of public people to whom the good publicity would be worth dozens of times more than $16k.