David Coppedge Trial: 21 Mar ’12

It’s about time for this day’s trial activities to be winding down in California, involving the suit 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.

Unfortunately, we can’t find any news stories. That’s especially annoying, as today was going to be a continuation of JPL’s cross-examination of Coppedge. Even if the day ended early because of another Coppedge headache, someone should have reported it; but we’ve encountered only silence.

The Discoveroids have said nothing about the trial for the past couple of days, and we can certainly understand why — creationists always ignore inconvenient facts. A few days ago they were loading up their blog with posts about Coppedge’s direct testimony, when friendly questions were coming from his own lawyer. But now, when their hero isn’t looking so good, they don’t want to discuss it. They’re hiding under their desks while Coppedge is being cross-examined, pretending that nothing is happening.

The problem with that is that something is happening. Coppedge is probably being shredded, even as we speak, and we’re very frustrated that we can’t find any news about it. At least not yet.

Despite the lack of news, your Curmudgeon won’t be discouraged. We’re starting this post anyway, with the expectation that as the evening wears on we’ll be able to amend it with rousing tales of how Coppedge was sliced and diced during cross-examination. So although this post is starting out to be a brief one, we have hopes that it’ll fill out over the next few hours.

Addendum: At last, some news! the Pasadena Star-News has this: JPL attorneys paint David Coppedge as problem employee, which says, with our bold:

Despite JPL’s requirement to disclose outside business interests, Coppedge never disclosed to JPL any information about his sale of DVDs.

“At JPL you took ethics training once a year, where you were supposed to report outside business activity,” said James Zapp, lead attorney for JPL. “You never reported these activities to JPL.”

Coppedge acknowledged that he failed to disclose his sale of DVDs, as well as earnings from the business to the Internal Revenue Service or JPL as required by the science laboratory’s policy.

Very interesting! And here’s one more excerpt:

Coppedge filed suit against JPL in April 2009 on grounds of discrimination. Criticism supplanted praise in Coppedge performance evaluations following the [2009] suit, according to his testimony Monday.

But Zapp said co-workers characterized Coppedge as confrontational and stubborn well before the 2009 incident with Chin. As far back as 2004, his co-workers described him as difficult to work with, a micromanager and someone who was “quick to say no,” according to testimony Wednesday.

Chin defended Coppedge to his superiors, Zapp said, but Coppedge didn’t listen. “Everything that Mr. Chin said to you about customers’ viewpoints, you would dismiss and say `you don’t understand me,” Zapp said.

Poor Coppedge. He’s so misunderstood. Perhaps that’s the fate of all great men.

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

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28 responses to “David Coppedge Trial: 21 Mar ’12

  1. This fellow was at the trial today… http://twitter.com/#!/JBrianCharles I suspect he will have a more complete article sometime tonight or in the morning.

  2. Søren Kongstad says: “Theres a little info here”

    That’s from yesterday.

  3. Tomato Addict

    @JBrianCharles replies to my tweet asking if he was in the courtroom:

    >@DCEastwood I was on Monday and Wednesday. It was gripping.

    So yes, something is happening. So very frustrating to wait.

  4. Dave de Vries

    Here’s an account of today. (Although it reads very much as a “more of the same” from yesterday.) http://www.lacanadaonline.com/news/tn-vsl-0322-jpl-trial-coppedge-nasa-agency-tell-different-tales,0,6668679.story

  5. Reporter Brian Charles tweeted about 4 hours ago that Coppers was asked if he did any job hunting in 2011.

    And he left us hanging with that.

    I checked the job market in Coppedge’s work area, around JPL, and found tons of jobs. Of course, Coppers is unlikely, read that “it’s impossible”, to find a job exactly like the one he previously had with the same seniority, etc. He would undoubtedly take a cut in vacation time and, of course, the work would be different. But, that’s not a lot different than taking a new assignment in a company you already work for.

    I doubt that Coppers did much looking, other than at pictures of Olive Oyl.

    Enter my friend who at 62 took a layoff package that gave him 60 weeks of pay based on his zillion years of service and other bennies. Rather than retire he took the educational package and signed up for some courses in Visual Basic and Access. Then the old goat landed a job with a little oil company that was migrating stuff from mainframes to, ta da, Visual Basic and Access! He worked there for 2 years then got caught in a merger and got laid off AGAIN with ANOTHER PACKAGE, although not as big. (That’s what she … never mind.) Now, he’s finally retired and living in a little house on a lake.

    The End

  6. Okay, I finally found some news about the cross-examination and added it to the end of the original post. It’s good stuff!

  7. He didn’t report earnings from his DVD sales to the IRS?


    Becker will have his opportunity for redirect, but with Coppedge’s propensity to ramble in his answers and possibly say something completely unexpected, he’ll probably keep it short. Maybe the court will watch movies today.

    The defense hasn’t even presented it’s case, yet it seems like they’ve already won.

  8. I still find the hypocrisy of this guy amusing.

    Shouldn’t bow to the minority to be inclusive with the Christmas party.
    Expects people to bow to the minority about creationism in the office.

    Finds it offensive when people post anti-intelligent design cartoons in there office, asks them to be taken down. (it is done)
    Feels outraged when people ask him not to go from office to office with prop 8 fliers and arguing with employees. Perfectly fine that he runs a campaign to promote ID in the work place.
    no problem that he runs an anti science website sometimes using company time.

    More negative reviews after his lawsuit….. not his fault people didn’t listen to him. hmmmm maybe his attitude changed since he had been “demoted”. maybe after learning who his accusers were he had a more negative attitude towards them?

    I wonder what the creationist spin will be on all of this?

  9. He failed to report earnings to the IRS. That’s not very Christian-like, is it? That sounds like cheating on your taxes and lying to the government. I’m pretty sure there’s something in the bible about cheating and lying. Sounds like Coppedge has a sliding morality that centers around what’s best for David Coppedge.

  10. For the “No good deed goes unpunished file”…

    Sounds like Chin actually tried to help Coppedge out before 2009 — defending him to his superiors when others complained about him, trying to coach him on changing his behavior and demeanor in dealing with others, helping him get the “team leader” position. His reward was to be accused in a court of law of harassing and persecuting Coppedge.

  11. Charley Horse

    Coppedge…”I demand privileges…Xian privileges”
    Coppedge….”Minorities have no rights or privileges”
    Coppedge….”My majority rights and privileges were denied”

    Just reading between the lines….

  12. I can’t wait to read Klinghoffer’s riff on the last couple of days.

  13. GrumpyOldBroad

    There’s another good article here. Not only is the poor man misunderstood, he’s taken to correcting the judge:

    On Wednesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ernest Hiroshige told Coppedge several times to give yes or no responses to Zapp’s questions, rather than adding commentary.

    “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.”

    Looks like Judge Hiroshige is getting a first-hand look at Mr. Coppedge’s attitude towards authority, methinks.

  14. This was rich with irony:

    Coppedge acknowledged that he failed to disclose his sale of DVDs, as well as earnings from the business to the Internal Revenue Service or JPL as required by the science laboratory’s policy.

    Coppedge said his understanding was the disclosure policy only applied to instances where a conflict of interest arose.

    Riiiiiiiight, and now he’s arguing that he was merely, in his little humble way, contributing to the scientific study of “origins” by passing out (and occasionally selling) his (not) creationist DVD’s.

    Corporate ethics training on conflict of interest, accepting gifts etc is pretty standard across the industry, and very clear. The bottom line is that any business activity you engage in outside of work, you should really run it by your supervisor and possibly HR just to be on the safe side.

    As for the IRS, I doubt that old Coppers made more than $100 a year on those stupid things. Clearly his supervisors bought the DVD’s just to humor Coppy and look how they’ve ended up!

    Then there’s this:

    Coppedge, a self-described creationist, testified that Christmas is not a religious holiday, but a federal holiday that doesn’t exclude people of any faith or cultural background.

    “What could be more inclusive than Christmas?” Coppedge testified.

    Christmas isn’t a religious holiday, it’s a federal holiday? WTF kind of doublespeak is that? Does anyone believe that Coppedge would be cool with the feds changing the name of the Christmas Day holiday to the Winter Holiday holiday?

    Well, like all creationists Coppedge just makes up stuff as he goes along. It doesn’t have to fit, match or make sense. It’s just all bafflegab.

  15. Curmudgeon: “Poor Coppedge. He’s so misunderstood.”

    But only by “Darwinists,” because “Darwinists” misunderstand everything. Case in point, “Darwinists” don’t understand ID because they call it creationism (which it is in the general sense of anti-evolution pseudoscience). Whereas self-described creationists do understand ID because they often equate it with their particular brand of creationism (which it’s ususally not), and ID peddlers rarely if ever correct them. Got it now? 😉

  16. Another new article here: JPL attorneys paint David Coppedge as problem employee . The only information we don’t already know is the last sentence:

    “Cross-examination concluded Wednesday, and Coppedge’s attorney opened redirect late in the day. ”

    That means Becker has Coppedge back on the stand, trying to clear up all the wreckage created by cross-examination. I donno, but when that’s done, it’s possible that there might be yet another round of cross-examination.

  17. Anyone who has taken the mandatory annual JPL ethics training knows that ALL outside business activities HAVE to be reported and approved in writing. Even non-business activities have to be reported if they might in any way impact your work.

  18. Curmudgeon: “…there might be yet another round of cross-examination.”

    I would love the opportunity to do it, as I would be a Pedro Irigonegaray on steroids. For those who don’t know, PI is the one who took the cocky “we’re gonna stick it to ‘Darwinists’ once and for all” gang at the Kansas Kangaroo Courts, and reduced most them to frantic babbling in hell-bent attempts to evade the simplest questions about the age of the earth and common descent. That train wreck alone shows how “creationism” has deteriorated from at least a semi-clever pseudoscience to a pathetic scam that can’t even find consistent answers to the most basic questions. And there are many more, including “have you challenged any evolution-deniers who disagree with you on the specifics”?

  19. Gabriel Hanna

    “Christmas isn’t a religious holiday, it’s a federal holiday? WTF kind of doublespeak is that?”

    Christmas, like the New Year, is a holiday with religious and secular elements. And like the New Year, is a Federal holiday.

    Coppedge is right about this, at least, unless you can show me where in the Gospels it talks about Yule logs and sleigh bells and exchanging gifts.

  20. Gabriel Hanna says: “Christmas isn’t a religious holiday, it’s a federal holiday? WTF kind of doublespeak is that?”

    Makes perfect sense. (1) Christmas is a federal holiday, so no one should be offended by calling it “Christmas;” and (2) not calling it Christmas is an offense to Coppedge’s religious sensibilities.

  21. Could someone please translate Gabriel’s logic ?

    I’m sure there was a point being made somewhere in the post but I couldn’t figure out what it was.

  22. Gabriel Hanna

    @SC: By saying “Coppedge is right about this at least”, of course I mean that Christmas is not a purely religious holiday and that the Federal government recognizes it AS a holiday, which it calls “Christmas”. The issue of Coppedge being offended by not calling it Christmas I did not address.


    Christmas is not a purely Christian holiday any more than Thanksgiving is Christian or the New Year is Wiccan.

  23. You say potatoe* , I say Christmas.

    It’s all part of being a creationist. All statements are independent. They don’t have to make sense as a whole. In fact, every aspect of creationist philosophy only makes a kind of sense, squinting hard, if you consider each point totally isolated from every other point.

    ID Poster Boy doesn’t have to be consistent because it’s his constitutional right to always be right.

    And speaking of insensitive cartoons on office doors, we had a manager once who told us that all our doors had to be clean, but he would put a bulletin board in the coffee room, which he did. Then he sent out a memo telling us that sexual, political and religious cartoons were off-limits. That left the Family Circus (but, surprisingly, not all of them). Then we started posting science cartoons (Two atoms: Hey, I think I lost an electron! Are you sure? Yeah, I’m positive. (rim shot)) You guessed it, he told us not to post those because they “excluded” employees who didn’t understand them. In the end we posted cartoons on the backs of our doors and he couldn’t do anything about it. Months later he transferred out.

    *courtesy of Dan Quayle

  24. Gabriel Hanna

    @Doc Bill: Now you know why we can’t have nice things.

  25. I don’t see how the cartoons posted on office doors help Coppedge’s case, especially considering he succeeded in forcing them to be taken down.

    If before he complained about the cartoons he had posted his own cartoon making fun of evolution and was told to take it down while the others were allowed to remain he might have something. But that’s not what happened.

    What he did was much different and much more active and aggressive than posting a cartoon in his office. However, the creationist mind seems intellectually incapable of discerning such distinctions.

  26. The courtroom must be ready to shut down for the day in California, so maybe we’ll get some news soon.