cr> Scientology wins summary judgment


Richard Moore

Date:         Mon, 22 Jan 1996
Sender:       Activists Mailing List <•••@••.•••>
From:         henry <•••@••.•••>
Organization: NETCOM On-line Communication Services (408 261-4700 guest)
Subject:      Scientology wins summary judgment against Lerma

The Seventh Amendment reads as follows:

"In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed
twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no
fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of
the United States, than according to the rules of the common law."

In a shocking 180-degree reversal, Judge Leonie Brinkema
decided to grant summary judgment to the Religious Technology
Center, one of the many corporations in the shell-game of
Scientology, against Arnie Lerma, who posted a publicly
available court document known as the Fishman Affidavit, which
is on hundreds of web sites in the Netherlands and around
the world.  Brinkema had earlier decried the raid performed
by Scientology as a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment
and found that the purpose of the lawsuit had been to harass,
but now has decided that despite evidence that the copyrights
of Scientology have been misused to stifle the First Amendment
rights of critics, that Lerma shouldn't even get a trial.

As recently as November 29, Brinkema had issued such statements
as this:

"However, the Court is now convinced that the primary
motivation of RTC in suing Lerma, DGS and The Post is to stifle
criticism of Scientology in general and to harass its critics.  As the
increasingly vitriolic rhetoric of its briefs and oral argument no
demonstrate, the RTC appears far more concerned about criticism of
Scientology than vindication of its secrets."

And this:

"Were they arguing to a religious council placed within a
theocratic government, RTC's arguments might prevail.  But this Court
is a secular branch of a secular democratic government.  Our traditional
separation of church from the state, combined with the heterogeneity of
religious practices in this country compel us to reject the RTC's
arguments.  "While the Free Exercise Clause clearly prohibits the use of
state action to deny the rights of free exercise to anyone, it has never
meant that a majority could use the machinery of the State to practice its
beliefs." Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 57 (1985).  In the same vein,
RTC may not employ the machinery of this Court to enforce its
religious prescriptions against The Post by enjoining otherwise
permissible activity."  Judge Leonie Brinkema, Nov 29, 1995

Further, despite having cited the precedent below in her Nov 29, 1995
ruling, she has apparently decided that not only does Arnie Lerma
not deserve liberty of the press, but that he doesn't even deserve
a trial as guaranteed by the Seventh Amendment.

"[L]iberty of the press is the right of the lonely
pamphleteer who uses carbon paper or a mimeograph just as much as of
the large metropolitan publisher who utilizes the latest
photocomposition methods."  Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 704

The particular 'lonely pamphleteer,' Arnie Lerma, and his
associates at FACTnet, claim to have spent over one million
dollars in their defense of this outrageous case.  While
stating that Scientology shouldn't expect to receive much
money, they've already achieved their goal of bankrupting
their opponents, perhaps beyond any chance of recovery,
while still refusing to pay the five million dollars they
owe defendant Larry Wollersheim, a judgment upheld by the
Supreme Court.

"I don't want to go into that again."
  --Judge Leonie Brinkema, Jan 19, 1996,
    granting a summary judgment with no
    trial to Scientology

This is a sad day for the net and for justice.

See also


for an overview of the entire situation.



 Posted by Richard K. Moore (•••@••.•••) Wexford, Ireland
 Materials may be reposted in their entirety for non-commercial use.