David Coppedge Trial: 20 Mar ’12

The saga continues. This is the case filed by David Coppedge, the creationist who claims he was wrongfully demoted (and later fired) by his employer because he was promoting Intelligent Design (ID) on the job. As you recall, he used to work as a computer technician for Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is part of Caltech. He also maintains a creationist website: Creation-Evolution Headlines — which was recently moved here.

Because there’s been so much media coverage of statements made by the Coppedge team, we want to remind you that there are two sides to this case, and your best source of information is the archive of pleadings that were obtained from the court clerk’s office (at no small expense) by our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), and then posted at their archive of pleadings in the case: NCSE’s Coppedge archive. They’re scans of pdf files, so it’s not possible to cut-and-paste from them, but that’s your best source of information. Indeed, other than sitting through the trial, it’s your only source of information from both sides of the case.

There’s also the courthouse. The clerk’s office maintains a docket for the Coppedge case, and they require payment of fees to obtain copies of the listed pleadings. You can visit that source here: Superior Court of California, Los Angeles. At the box for “Case Number” you need to enter BC435600. Some minimal information is available for free — the names of the parties and their lawyers, a list of what documents have been filed, what proceedings have been held, and what future hearings have been scheduled. The press has mostly ignored this information. Nothing new is likely to appear there during the trial, and if it does, it will probably show up in the NCSE archive.

Okay, now for today’s proceedings. The only news is at the Patch website, in JPL Lawsuit: Laid-Off Worker Calls Appeal a ‘Sham’. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

The former systems administrator suing JPL for religious discrimination testified Tuesday that he felt his appeal to a human resources investigation that found him to be harassing colleagues was a sham.

If Coppedge says it was a sham, that’s good enough for the Discoveroids, who will forever be declaring that it was a sham. But we’ll need to hear from JPL’s witnesses. The article also says:

“I felt a grave injustice had been done to me,’’ said, David Coppedge, who filed a lawsuit for wrongful demotion in 2010. … Defense attorney Jim Zapp is expected to cross examine Coppedge this afternoon.

We’ve been waiting for the cross-examination, but there’s no news on that yet. Perhaps Coppedge had another headache and the cross-examination was postponed. Let’s see what else we can learn:

At JPL, he told Judge Ernest Hiroshige, who is hearing the non-jury trial of Coppedge’s case, he made about $125,500 annually. Since then, he’s found only sporadic work.

That’s difficult to believe. A man so well steeped in creation science should be a valuable addition to any firm. Cutting-edge science outfits should be beating down his door. Anyway, that’s all the news we can find tonight. Perhaps we’ll have more tomorrow.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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19 responses to “David Coppedge Trial: 20 Mar ’12

  1. $125k/yr for hanging tapes?????

    You have got to be pooping me.

  2. longshadow says: “$125k/yr for hanging tapes?????”

    It’s all part of the pattern of abuse.

  3. Yep, 125k for being a sys admin. Here in Texas working for an oil company with the same seniority a person might expect 90-100k, with a new hire with possibly more skills than Coppedge clocking in at 70k.

    Poor, boo-boo! I can make 125 and be a jackass! Rock on!

    New report out details today’s proceedings:

    What no HEADACHE???

  4. Patch provided another report a little while ago. Apparently there was some cross today.


    The lead JPL defense attorney pointed out Tuesday that several co-workers complained about David Coppedge’s demeanor and responsiveness — people with whom he’d never discussed religion or politics.

    Frustrated with not being able to explain the complaints’ context, a red-faced David Coppedge admitted to the lead defense attorney Tuesday that several JPL employees had griped about his professionalism and ability clear back to 2004.


    More at link.

  5. Tomato Addict

    “$125k/yr for hanging tapes?????”

    Our tax dollars at work.

  6. Unfortunately for Coppedge, I think the defense is just warming up.

    Tomorrow, he is likely to be Zapped.

    We may have the first reliably documented incident of Spontaneous Human Combustion.

  7. Jack Hogan says:

    a red-faced David Coppedge admitted to the lead defense attorney Tuesday that several JPL employees had griped about his professionalism and ability clear back to 2004.

    Those Darwinists will stop at nothing!

  8. It is so easy when only those friendly ask the witness questions. Under cross-examination, many a story starts to break down. The amazing thing is how the answers themselves are often not nearly as important as how the witness responds. Do they delay? Become belligerent? Avoid the question?

    Remember how the Discovery Institute is attempting to portray Coppedge as this meek, milquetoast of a person who wouldn’t raise his voice if you poked him with a pin? Now one starts to discover the truth.

    I found it interesting the Judge has to instruct him to answer the questions “yes” or “no” (a good cross-examiner knows how to only ask “yes” or “no” questions. That is basic cross-examination.) Coppedge repeatedly failed to do so, giving long, rambling questions. Then he admits, ““He [Mr. Chin] reported that members of my own team had expressed the same concerns, that I appeared too opinionated or unwilling to listen.”

    What Coppedge obviously completely fails to recognize is Coppedge’s demonstration of that EXACT tendency right in the witness stand! He is making the Defense’s case, regardless what the actual answers are, by being too opinionated and unwilling to listen. Right in front of the judge.

    Now who is the Judge going to believe? Coppedge who will claim he acted the exact opposite when it came to Intelligent Design or the 15 JPL workers who all say, “That Coppedge you saw in the stand is the same one we had to work with day after day after day after day…”

  9. Coppedge is his own worst enemy. I do not know the rules governing this trial, but it would be great if JPL’s attorneys can call him to the stand again when presenting their defense. Does anyone know if they can do that?

  10. Tomato Addict

    From Dave de Vries’ link, with my emphasis:

    “This is not a yes or no question, this is out of context,” Coppedge said in response to one question about his meetings with JPL supervisors. “I’m learning the art of spin doctoring here.”

    Somehow BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA just doesn’t seem strong enough.

  11. again this does not sound like how people of faith act in the work place….not a good example

  12. Jack Hogan,

    Although I don’t know California Rules of Civil Procedure, generally you can only cross-examine on topics raised in direct examination. Therefore…technically…if an area was not covered in direct examination and JPL’s lawyers inquired in that area on cross-examination, Becker could object and be sustained.

    However, as a rule, you never, never, never want opposing counsel to get another crack at questioning your witnesses (you don’t even want their testimony to go into the next day), so only a fool would object, to allow Defense counsel call Coppedge to the stand when Defense presents proofs. Also, most judges for expediency sake, would prefer you question witnesses on only one occasion. Not bring them up for direct examination, then cross-examination, then rebuttal (Decker gets another shot at asking Coppedge questions after cross) And in presenting Defense, again for direct, again for cross, again for rebuttal. And then in Plaintiff’s rebuttal the same possible parade.

    Let the Plaintiff build their case. Tear it down through cross-examination. Then build your own. Coppedge testifying again will not help build your case as defense—you (presumably) have already effectively eliminated his credibility through cross-examination.

  13. “I felt a grave injustice had been done to me,’’ said David Coppedge.

    I get the feeling he would consider it a grave injustice if the JPL salad bar ran out of chick peas. His words are meaningless.

  14. I must say that I am really enjoying seeing this play out. Coppedge, far from being Mr.Congeniality, runs and writes one of the most aggressively antagonistic, insulting, underinformed blog/websites out there, and while one can submit comments, I will leave it up to you to guess what sorts of comments actually make it to ‘print.’

    He got what was coming, and I hope this trial destroys him.

  15. I must say that I am really enjoying seeing this play out. Coppedge, far from being Mr.Congeniality, …

    But, Klinghoffer likes him! Called old Coppers “sweet” he did. I think they’re dating. Srsly. So much for Prop 8.

  16. Charley Horse

    Coppedge is self destructing…as expected.
    I think JPL’s refusal to throw the plaintiff’s a bone
    before trial was unexpected. The plaintiff’s attorney had
    to know he had no case.

    The judge awarding the defendants legal expenses
    will be the icing on the cake.

  17. Coppedge complains that he only found sparaitc work since he was laid off….

    I wonder if it ever occured to him that he’s an opinionated 61 year old IT professional who is less than 4 year from retirment asking for a large salary. (not to puch agism here but if you were an employer with 2 equal candidates you’d probally hire the one who you could keep for more than 4 years).

    I’m still trying to figure out why he took the job in the first place. His blog is full of scientific critisisms and he shows a complete lack of respect for research. Why would he take a job for a company that does just that?

  18. If the judge awards legal expenses reimbursement to the defendants, paid by Coppedge, that will dampen the ID proponents’ tactic: sue them and hope for a settlement.