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Appeal Seeks To Establish Right to Trespass on Clinic Property To Stop Involuntary Abortions
TMLC ^ | 2-12-2003 | staff

Posted on 02/12/2003 2:46:51 PM PST by Notwithstanding

In an appeal filed last week, a Wisconsin Appellate Court is being asked to recognize under State law a “necessity defense,” which would give pro-life demonstrators the right to trespass on clinic property in order to stop involuntary abortions. The controversial position is based on the common law rule that one is privileged to enter on another’s property if it is or reasonably appears to be necessary to prevent serious harm to a third person. According to the Wisconsin State Constitution, the common law is preserved in the State until it has been altered or changed by the legislature.

The Thomas More Law Center, a national, public-interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is seeking to have this common law defense recognized in the abortion context on behalf of William Goodman. According to Robert Muise, the Law Center attorney handling the case, “We acknowledge that this appeal is controversial because of the politically charged nature of the abortion debate. However, we are not asking the court to determine the legal status of abortion. Rather, we are asking the court to determine whether the common law privilege of necessity is available to pro-life demonstrators as a defense against a claim of civil trespass. ”

The controversy began in December 2000, when William Goodman peacefully entered the Madison Abortion Clinic to help the mothers scheduled for abortions that day. He believed that there were women present at the abortion clinic who were under duress and had not given their voluntary and informed consent to have an abortion. Shortly after entering the clinic, he was assaulted by a worker and handcuffed by a security guard. Police arrived and escorted him from the building.

Goodman was eventually sued by Meriter Hospital, the landlord of the Madison Abortion Clinic, for trespass. The Thomas More Law Center defended Mr. Goodman and successfully defeated on free speech grounds the Hospital’s attempt to get a “buffer zone” in place that would have kept the pro-life demonstrator more than 100 feet away from the clinic entrance. Goodman counter-sued the hospital and the abortion clinic for assault and battery and received a judgment in his favor against the abortion clinic, its owner, and the worker who attacked him. An appeal was filed on Goodman’s behalf because the court entered an order that enjoins him from trespassing.

Carol Everett, a former abortion clinic operator, gave sworn testimony in favor of the Law Center’s position. She noted that it was her experience that women were never told the truth about their baby or what might happen to them as a result of the abortion; that women were never given adequate truthful information to make an informed decision about the abortion; and that many women who sought abortions were under duress or coercion to terminate the life of their “unwanted child.”

Based on evidence such as this, the Law Center’s brief argued that if it reasonably appeared necessary for Goodman to enter the Madison Abortion Clinic in order to prevent serious harm to third persons, namely the women and their unborn children who would be harmed by the abortion, then the necessity defense should apply regardless of Goodman’s politics or religious beliefs. The Law Center pointed out that there is no constitutional right to perform an abortion, and any medical procedure performed without voluntary and informed consent is a battery under Wisconsin law.


TOPICS: Breaking News; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; US: Michigan; US: Wisconsin
KEYWORDS: abortion; commonlaw; constitutionallaw; corruption
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1 posted on 02/12/2003 2:46:52 PM PST by Notwithstanding
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To: Notwithstanding
Common law: the organic law of the people, until the people choose to act through their elected legislatures (which has not been done here).
2 posted on 02/12/2003 2:51:44 PM PST by Notwithstanding (Satan is real. So are his minions.)
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To: Notwithstanding
Interesting legal tactic ping
3 posted on 02/12/2003 2:53:26 PM PST by taxcontrol
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To: Notwithstanding
Very interesting. Thanks for the post.
4 posted on 02/12/2003 2:53:31 PM PST by TXBubba
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To: AKA Elena; american colleen; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; Aristophanes; ArrogantBustard; Askel5; ...
pro-life catholic ping
5 posted on 02/12/2003 2:55:34 PM PST by Notwithstanding (Satan is real. So are his minions.)
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To: Notwithstanding
Common law also says trespassers may be shot and their heads placed on pikes by the front entrance.
6 posted on 02/12/2003 2:59:05 PM PST by RightWhale
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To: Notwithstanding
Not good. This means that abortions would have to be done in areas that Mr. Goodman won't find, which would be more dangerous to the mother.
7 posted on 02/12/2003 3:01:30 PM PST by Peaecon
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To: Peaecon
Women who are not allowed to give informed consent - as is required for every other medical procedure from tooth pulls to ingrown toenail corrections - are in grave danger.

Mr. Goodman is simply being a good samaritan.
8 posted on 02/12/2003 3:03:59 PM PST by Notwithstanding (Satan is real. So are his minions.)
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To: RightWhale
Check out Wisconsin's common law for trespassing (cited in Wisconsin court opinions in which trespass of necessity was at issue) and I dont't think you will find your red-herring heads-on-pikes provision.

9 posted on 02/12/2003 3:06:13 PM PST by Notwithstanding (Satan is real. So are his minions.)
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To: Notwithstanding
Can you think of any other "medical" practice where it's accepted to give your client a sedative before (s)he signs any consent form?
10 posted on 02/12/2003 3:08:42 PM PST by toenail
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To: Notwithstanding
I have a nephew who believes that the accumulation of wealth is the source of most evil. He has Biblical precedence, or course, the temple money changers, and “Blessed are the Poor,” etc.

He will love this. If the Court buys this BS, he will have the ability to go into a bank and take out all that accumulated money and spend it as he sees fit... all to help "The Poooohr", of course.

Expected much sounder legal reasoning from the More Center.

Attempted legal legerdemain such as this just casts distain on the whole movement. Makes me wonder, what sort of grades did this Muise chap get in law school… how many attempts to pass the Bar exam?
11 posted on 02/12/2003 3:10:33 PM PST by MindBender26 (.....and for more news as it happens...stay tuned to your local FReeper station....)
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To: Notwithstanding
Not a good idea.

I want you to think what "child protection" NGOs would do to use this against parents who discipline their kids or prevent them from exercising their "privacy rights"?

Don't do it.
12 posted on 02/12/2003 3:13:12 PM PST by Carry_Okie (With friends like these, who needs friends?)
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To: RightWhale
Common law also says trespassers may be shot and their heads placed on pikes by the front entrance.

I must have been absent that semester. Actually, the common law does not permit the use of deadly force in defence of real property (i.e. real estate).

13 posted on 02/12/2003 3:13:58 PM PST by Iron Eagle
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To: Notwithstanding
He believed that there were women present at the abortion clinic who were under duress and had not given their voluntary and informed consent to have an abortion.

Mere belief that any of the women were under duress is insufficient. One must have specific evidence to support the claim with respect to a specific person--the belief must be "reasonable."

And the act of trespassing is considered sufficient evidence to create a "reasonable belief" that a person is intent on causing bodily harm to the owner or tenant of the property being trespassed on, and, depending on the demeanor of the trespasser, that "reasonable belief" may extend to the belief that the application of deadly force is warranted.

14 posted on 02/12/2003 3:14:34 PM PST by Poohbah (Beware the fury of a patient man -- John Dryden)
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To: MindBender26
"Makes me wonder, what sort of grades did this Muise chap get in law school? how many attempts to pass the Bar exam? "

Perhaps he became a lawyer because he couldn't qualify as a sniper?
15 posted on 02/12/2003 3:15:31 PM PST by APBaer
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To: APBaer; Chancellor Palpatine; Catspaw; Long Cut
Perhaps he became a lawyer because he couldn't qualify as a sniper?

As a pro-lifer I have to say "OUCH." That one hurts. But it's not as if the nutballs in our movement haven't worked overtime to make folks think that...

16 posted on 02/12/2003 3:18:17 PM PST by Poohbah (Beware the fury of a patient man -- John Dryden)
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To: Notwithstanding
Women who are not allowed to give informed consent

...are apparently a figment of Goodman's imagination at this point.

If any women come forth who allege such a thing happened to them, the proper way to handle it is for them to take the issue to court themselves against the alleged violators.

It is *not* appropriate for some self-appointed commando to crash a clinic on a personal mission to "protect" patients from what he *thinks* might be taking place that day.

His lawsuit should be booted immediately, and he should be fined for wasting the court's time with his frivolous lawsuit.

17 posted on 02/12/2003 3:18:35 PM PST by Ichneumon
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To: Poohbah; Catspaw
Thats gonna leave a mark.

What'll be amusing is when the Thomas More lawyers (who seem to have a bit of difficulty with notions of standing and real causes in dispute) get their little ying yangs slapped off - especially when it is shown there is no basis for the belief on consent.

18 posted on 02/12/2003 3:38:11 PM PST by Chancellor Palpatine (those who unilaterally beat their swords into plowshares wind up plowing for those who don't)
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To: Chancellor Palpatine
"I Heard it Through the Grapevine" is acceptable as a Motown Classic, not as an evidentiary argument in a court of law :o)
19 posted on 02/12/2003 3:39:29 PM PST by Poohbah (Beware the fury of a patient man -- John Dryden)
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To: Notwithstanding
So if you "have reason to believe" something is wrong, you can trespass?

How's that again?

20 posted on 02/12/2003 3:51:04 PM PST by Illbay
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To: MindBender26
The thing that bothers me about this stuff is that it isn't about "the law," it's about publicity.

And that's wrong.

It is wrong to abuse the legal system in such a way, with spurious claims that have little validity.

What does he mean "they didn't give informed consent"? They didn't agree with HIS views on abortion?

Turn this around the other way: Can an atheist who believes that children in religious schools are being coerced into religion enter such a school and "liberate" the "inmates"? Man, the "deprogramming" industry will have a heyday.

21 posted on 02/12/2003 3:54:54 PM PST by Illbay
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To: Chancellor Palpatine
It's going to be interesting. Goodman plead no contest/guilty to the charges in 4/2001 (according to Wisconsin Circuit Court Access) but he appealled and the judgment of guilt was vacated (I haven't bothered to check for the decision, but someone else can). He's scheduled to go on trial again in 4/2003.

A necessity defense means I can trespass? Cool. I've always want to see the inside of a bank vault wearing my jacket with REALLY BIG pockets.

22 posted on 02/12/2003 4:24:51 PM PST by Catspaw
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To: Catspaw
IIRC, one of our very own FReepers got sandbagged by Thomas More out here in California (she got sanctioned to the tune of $77,000 or so).
23 posted on 02/12/2003 4:27:31 PM PST by Poohbah (Beware the fury of a patient man -- John Dryden)
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To: Poohbah
Well, I have personal knowledge of all the details of this case, and it is also a matter of the court record - that Mr. Goodson was non-threatening and the only reason he was considered a trespasser is because he asked the people who worked their questions about what goes on at the abortion clinic. One of the workers even swore that he was very calm and not at all threatening. In fact, the only person who were violent was the daughter of the abortionist - she actually attacked Mr. Goodson in a crazed fashion SIMPLY BECAUSE SHE KNEW HE HAS PRO-LIFE VIEWS (and she knew that because he had told her before in a very kind way that he was praying for her). Mr. Goodson is a pacifist.

Anyone else who goes to this abortuary and asks questions is not viewed as a trespasser.

The court has given Mr. Goodson damages for the tortious attack by the daughter - holding that her belief that Mr. Goodson was dangerous or a threat to be unreasonable.

TMLC does not take cases that are shaky.






24 posted on 02/12/2003 4:28:05 PM PST by Notwithstanding (Satan is real. So are his minions.)
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To: MindBender26
Muise was at the very top of his class at Notre Dame Law School where he was an associate editor for the Law Review. He entered the Marine Corps JAG (the hardest JAG to enter - very competitive) (he was an infantry officer and decided to go to law school ON HIS OWN DIME and then return to active service in the JAG), and is so damn good he could run circles around any three attorneys you care to put him up against. (I know because I worked for/with him). In fact, he is often up against teams of attorneys and his success rate is amazing.

He has also been offered a federal judicial clerkship (THE prestige job for young lawyers, as far as academic prowess is concerned) as well as a job with the US Attorney.

Poohbah - you is totally wet on this one.


25 posted on 02/12/2003 4:35:12 PM PST by Notwithstanding (Satan is real. So are his minions.)
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To: Poohbah
Saundra Duffy supports TMLC 100% and they are paying the sanction themselves - she is not at all sandbagged.

The judge is a pro-abort liberal and like most of them ignored the law and ruled like an autocrat dictator - without relying on the law.
26 posted on 02/12/2003 4:38:47 PM PST by Notwithstanding (Satan is real. So are his minions.)
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To: Notwithstanding
Your "personal knowledge" of the case is significantly at variance with the facts that the TMLC posted.

Second, it looks like it was a mutual kill--Muise got a $101 judgement, but Meriter got a $375 judgement against Goodman.

Mr. Goodman also has a history of criminal trespass...
27 posted on 02/12/2003 4:46:42 PM PST by Poohbah (Beware the fury of a patient man -- John Dryden)
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To: Chancellor Palpatine
Palpy = Hater = Satan:

You absolutely HATE the TMLC. Lots of ACLU types do.
Maybe you got dinged by them?

They are SOOOOOOO good. Kickin' ass and takin' names.

This guy was brutalized by a crazy woman for entering the abortuary calmy to talk and you are pretending this is a case of forcefully raiding the place.

The depths to which you will stoop to prop up your facade!

Apparently you can't read or love to wallow in ignorance - TMLC wins all the time. And like all other attorneys, they do occasionally lose - an unforgivable sin in your book.

You are simply a hater.






28 posted on 02/12/2003 4:47:15 PM PST by Notwithstanding (Satan is real. So are his minions. Palpy is one of them.)
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To: Poohbah
Please point to the variance.
29 posted on 02/12/2003 4:48:57 PM PST by Notwithstanding (Satan is real. So are his minions. Palpy is one of them.)
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To: Poohbah
Like other peaceful civil rights activists (including Martin Luther King, Jr.) Mr. Goodman also has a history of criminal trespass...
30 posted on 02/12/2003 4:52:33 PM PST by Notwithstanding (Satan is real. So are his minions. Palpy is one of them.)
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To: Saundra Duffy
please take a look, Suandra
31 posted on 02/12/2003 4:53:14 PM PST by Notwithstanding (Satan is real. So are his minions. Palpy is one of them.)
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To: Saundra Duffy
please take a look
at #26
Suandra
32 posted on 02/12/2003 4:53:31 PM PST by Notwithstanding (Satan is real. So are his minions. Palpy is one of them.)
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To: Notwithstanding; Chancellor Palpatine; Poohbah
"Mr. Goodson was non-threatening.."

We are given this assessment by Notwithstanding, who is so mentally balanced that in post #28 she wrote of another poster:
"Palpy = Hater = Satan"

Well, as to this character assessment "We'll take it for what it's worth."
33 posted on 02/12/2003 4:56:39 PM PST by APBaer
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To: Notwithstanding
Is that court judgment for a whopping $101, and was it satisfied by American Family Mutual Insurance Company?

Also, it looks to me like Mr. Goodman had judgment entered against him for $375.19, and in favor of Meriter Hospital.

Please tell me I'm wrong about these figures, because if I'm not, trumpeting an award of "damages" under these circumstances is a stretch. That is not to say that the fact of a judgment doesn't have legal significance. It does, but I would suggest focusing on the decisions, and not the damages.

34 posted on 02/12/2003 4:57:10 PM PST by Kryptonite
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To: Notwithstanding
Like other peaceful civil rights activists (including Martin Luther King, Jr.) Mr. Goodman also has a history of criminal trespass...

OR, Like Monk in Oliver Twist, Mr. Goodman also has a history of criminal trespass...
35 posted on 02/12/2003 4:58:21 PM PST by APBaer
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To: Notwithstanding
You're describing Mr. Goodman as merely entering the clinic to ask questions of the staff. The TMLC describes him as entering to help the women scheduled for abortions that day. The two descriptions are at significant variance, because of who is allegedly being addressed in each case.

Second, given that Mr. Goodman has a history of trespassing at this facility, you can conclude that he knows that his presence isn't wanted by the tenants. Curiously, the TMLC neglects to mention this point.

If you are trespassing on my property, I will politely ask you to leave. I will do so exactly once. I will not repeat myself. I am not required to repeat myself. If you do not endeavour to immediately obey my request, you can expect some unpleasantness. I will use the minimum force necessary to ensure your departure. If you attempt to resist ejection from my property, the force applied will escalate accordingly. You may choose to characterize it as a "violent attack." The law does not.

36 posted on 02/12/2003 4:59:31 PM PST by Poohbah (Beware the fury of a patient man -- John Dryden)
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To: Notwithstanding
Can you point me to the decision awarding a sanction in that case, please?
37 posted on 02/12/2003 5:00:41 PM PST by Kryptonite
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To: Kryptonite
I did not mention the dollar amount precisely because my emphasis is on the legal significance of the award, not the dollar amount! (It was the other poster who thinks that is so important).

38 posted on 02/12/2003 5:02:03 PM PST by Notwithstanding (Satan is real. So are his minions. Palpy is one of them.)
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To: Notwithstanding
The dollar amount IS important. It indicates what the jury believed to be the relative causalities of the situation being litigated.
39 posted on 02/12/2003 5:08:51 PM PST by Poohbah (Beware the fury of a patient man -- John Dryden)
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To: Poohbah
His intent was to try to save babies and assist mothers to avoid being tricked into aborting (as is so often the case).

But his actions - the actions encountered by the abortuary workers - were simply talking to them about what was going on at the clinic very calmly. I understand that the workers are on record swearing to that. TMLC is correct in its article and I am also correct. No variance.

His success or failure in accomplishing waht he intended does not change his intent, and his tactic in first talking calmly to the workers was his way to embark upon achiving his stated goal (eventually preventing moms from being hoodwinked into allowing the abortionist to kill their babies).

There is no variance.

And as to your contention about what is allowable when it comes to ejecting trespassers, the judge disagreed with you.

The facts are that the daughter went crazy - irrationally and with no reasonable belief - thinking that this very very peaceful man

- who was simply talking and exhibited no violent behavior and who she KNEW to be a man of prayer and kindness (she is on record admitting that her only prior contact was seeing him praying for her and him talking to her calmly about how he was praying for her and her dad) -

was going to attack her abortionist dad. She jumped on him extremely violently and he immediately went all passive and limp. (Witnesses who work there confirmed all this).

She then knelt on his head and back with all her weight.
(All in front of several other clinic workers who confirmed that he was absolutely passive and prayerful and calm and extremely reasonable - even though the daughter was the one who was nutso and scary the whole time).

The clinic worker even told the daighter to stop being such an idiot.

Facts are great things.







40 posted on 02/12/2003 5:18:06 PM PST by Notwithstanding (Satan is real. So are his minions. Palpy is one of them.)
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To: APBaer; Poohbah
The funny part is that the TMLC is responsible for getting a FReeper, Saundra Duffy, sanctioned to the tune of $75,000 for a frivolous filing on a breast cancer/abortion link, when she hadn't had an abortion or breast cancer, but was the plaintiff. Some really stupid nonsense comes out, and they all sound like their poster boy, Atomic Dog, the guy who murdered Slepian.
41 posted on 02/12/2003 5:23:40 PM PST by Chancellor Palpatine (those who unilaterally beat their swords into plowshares wind up plowing for those who don't)
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To: Notwithstanding
His intent was to try to save babies and assist mothers to avoid being tricked into aborting (as is so often the case).

Fine. Trespassing does not accomplish this.

But his actions - the actions encountered by the abortuary workers - were simply talking to them about what was going on at the clinic very calmly. I understand that the workers are on record swearing to that. TMLC is correct in its article and I am also correct. No variance.

Sorry, but if he's talking to the workers and not the customers, there is a significant delta--spinning does not change that FACT.

His success or failure in accomplishing waht he intended does not change his intent, and his tactic in first talking calmly to the workers was his way to embark upon achiving his stated goal (eventually preventing moms from being hoodwinked into allowing the abortionist to kill their babies).

Again, he's talking to the wrong people.

There is no variance.

There is a BIG variance.

And as to your contention about what is allowable when it comes to ejecting trespassers, the judge disagreed with you.

Sorry. The law is pretty clear--once you are notified of the fact of trespass, your one single duty is to leave. Anything else, and force may be used to ensure your departure.

The facts are that the daughter went crazy - irrationally and with no reasonable belief - thinking that this very very peaceful man

Trespassing on private property is, in no way whatsoever, peaceful.

- who was simply talking and exhibited no violent behavior and who she KNEW to be a man of prayer and kindness (she is on record admitting that her only prior contact was seeing him praying for her and him talking to her calmly about how he was praying for her and her dad) -

The Kingdom is full of idiots whose first words to St. Peter were "but he seemed so kind and prayerful..."

was going to attack her abortionist dad.

Multiple trespassing convictions have a tendency to convince people of this.

She jumped on him extremely violently and he immediately went all passive and limp. (Witnesses who work there confirmed all this).

He was told to leave. He didn't. Them's the breaks.

She then knelt on his head and back with all her weight.

If you do NOT leave when you are told, I can employ force to MAKE you leave.

(All in front of several other clinic workers who confirmed that he was absolutely passive and prayerful and calm and extremely reasonable - even though the daughter was the one who was nutso and scary the whole time).

Sorry. The only way that Goodson would be "extremely reasonable" is if he showed extreme obedience to the law and didn't trespass, or left extremely rapidly once he was told to get out.

The clinic worker even told the daighter to stop being such an idiot.

The clinic worker's lack of respect for property rights is immaterial.

Facts are great things.

And, somewhere, the facts as described by you and the facts as described by the TMLC are at variance.

42 posted on 02/12/2003 5:26:35 PM PST by Poohbah (Beware the fury of a patient man -- John Dryden)
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To: Notwithstanding
Last I saw, TMLC was going to leave her holding the sanction bag. I suppose on reflection, they weren't going to find any more willing dupes to act as Plaintiffs unless they ponied up for their foulups.

I sure hope donations aren't tax deductible - it would be a shame to think that revenue would be forgone for such silliness.

43 posted on 02/12/2003 5:26:51 PM PST by Chancellor Palpatine (those who unilaterally beat their swords into plowshares wind up plowing for those who don't)
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To: Chancellor Palpatine
I'm pretty sure that Kopp isn't Saundra Duffy's hero.

There is a law that allows the unharmed to sue on behalf of the harmed in CA--it has been grossly abused by some shysters of late to shake down auto repair shops for trivial stuff that had already been adjudicated by the state government (fines, et cetera). My understanding is that the TMLC didn't use that law.
44 posted on 02/12/2003 5:28:49 PM PST by Poohbah (Beware the fury of a patient man -- John Dryden)
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To: Chancellor Palpatine; Saundra Duffy
Please clear the air.
Has something changed?
45 posted on 02/12/2003 5:32:10 PM PST by Notwithstanding (Satan is real. So are his minions. Palpy is one of them.)
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To: Notwithstanding; Chancellor Palpatine; Poohbah
Thank you for reevaluating Chancellor Palpatine, and I am happy to see that he is advancing in your estimation.

In Post 28 you thought he was Satan himself:
"Palpy = Hater = Satan:"

Whereas in this post, per your tag line, Chancellor Palpatine is a mere minion, a lowly toiler in Satan's workshop:

"(Satan is real. So are his minions. Palpy is one of them.)"
46 posted on 02/12/2003 6:47:01 PM PST by APBaer
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To: Notwithstanding
Where did Goodman file the case in which he won damages? Was it in state or federal court? If it's in a state court, which county in Wisconsin? If it's in federal court, where did he file? EDWI, WDWI, or somewhere else?
47 posted on 02/12/2003 7:01:46 PM PST by Catspaw
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To: Notwithstanding
This is an outrage. Any good liberal knows that women are only free in this country today because we are killing the maximum sustainable number of babies.
48 posted on 02/12/2003 7:20:18 PM PST by WaveThatFlag
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To: Iron Eagle
Are customers the property of the proprietor?
49 posted on 02/12/2003 7:50:28 PM PST by victim soul
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To: Illbay
So if you "have reason to believe" something is wrong, you can trespass? Gosh, that's an interesting question. If my neighbour called me up and told me her toddler got his head stuck in the stair railing and could I please come over and help her extricate the poor little tyke (this actually happened to me), well, wouldn't I "have reason to believe something is wrong" and then have the right to trespass on my neighbour's property? Well, the "reason to believe" could easily be established through my neighbour's invitation to enter her property. How do these folks plan to establish the "reason to believe"?
50 posted on 02/12/2003 8:01:20 PM PST by wonders (Choose life -- your mother did)
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