The Baby Butchers Case

In January 1999 the publishers of a web site entitled the Nuremberg Files were found to be in violation of the Federal laws relating to conspiracy. Their crime was that their web site contained the names and addresses of abortion doctors and it was inciting violence. Coincidently two of the doctors named had been recently murdered; after Dr. Barnett Slepian was killed in Buffalo Fall 1998, his name was slashed through on the list, along with the names of other abortion providers who have been murdered. The U.S. District Court jury in Portland OR ordered more than a dozen defendants to pay $106.5 million in punitive damages and $500,000 in compensatory damages to the plaintiffs, a local Planned Parenthood branch, a women's clinic and four doctors who have appeared on the Web site or the posters.

In March 2001 this verdict was overturned by the the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. In the finding Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski wrote:

"... if their statements merely encouraged unrelated terrorists, then their words are protected by the 1st Amendment ..."

Though the original verdict was accompanied by an injunction to bring down the web site, the operator, Neal Horsley, a Carrollton, Ga., a computer programmer, moved it to South Africa to escape the bounds of US law.

It is anticipated that this case will eventually be heard by the US Supreme Court.

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Last updated 2001/03/20
© J.A.N. Lee, 2001.