The wheel turns slowly, my friends — but it turns.
Here are two stories of the wheel grinding down censorious jackasses.
Mayor Jim Ardis Costs Peoria Taxpayers $125,000 Plus Legal Fees
Remember Peoria Mayor Jim Aris? He's the jackass who took offense to a satirical Twitter account and used a crony cop and a compliant judge to get a search warrant to harass the satirist.
Now Peoria has agreed to pay $125,000 to settle the satirist's civil rights suit. Peoria taxpayers foot that bill, along with the no doubt much larger legal bill for the city's lawyers.
Now, Jim Ardis doesn't face financial consequences personally. But there's hope he'll suffer long-term reputational and political consequences:
The actions against Daniel unleashed a torrent of negative backlash directed at Ardis and the police, a controversy dubbed "Twittergate" by many in the central Illinois community. Daniel's lawsuit against Ardis and several city officials accused them of violating his First and Fourth amendment rights. Legal experts said political satire is a protected right of free speech.
The settlement also requires Peoria to issue a directive to its Police Department saying the law prohibiting the impersonation of a public official — the same statute the city tried to use against Daniel — does not apply to satire.
Please join me in proclaiming that #JimArdisIsAnAss.
MedExpress Ordered To Pay Lawyers Who Responded To the Popehat Signal
You may remember that in 2013 I put up the Popehat Signal to seek Ohio lawyers willing to fight back against Med Express, an Ebay seller filing frivolous lawsuits attacking people for bad reviews. Jeff Nye and Tom Harren stepped up. Your rights, and mine, depend upon lawyers like them doing things like that.
Working together with Paul Alan Levy at Public Citizen, they defeated MedExpress and convinced a court to order MedExpress to pay their fees. Paul has the story here. It's very hard to get courts to award attorney fees as a sanction for frivolous litigation. But it's great when it happens. Jeff and Tom deserved to get paid for their efforts, and the sanction should help act as a deterrent against other thuggish plaintiffs.