David Coppedge Trial: Decision Tomorrow?

We are awaiting the judge’s decision in the trial of the suit filed by David Coppedge, the creationist who claims he was wrongfully demoted and later laid off (or 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.

In our last post about this trial, Decision Next Week?, we discussed an otherwise wretched press story that claimed we would have a decision in the case on 08 June. That’s tomorrow. Aren’t you excited?

Most of the court pleadings are available in the archive maintained by our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), located here: NCSE’s Coppedge archive. The pleadings are all scans of pdf files. If you need a quick update, you can get a feel for the case by looking at the last two items: Plaintiff’s Post-trial Brief and then JPL’s Post-Trial Defense Brief.

To fill the agonizing hours until we know the results, we thought we’d run another poll. We had one before (David Coppedge Trial: Readers’ Poll), but that was a couple of months ago. Surely your opinions have matured since then.

As before, we’ve provided a few choices, but if none of them suits you, feel free to add your own thinking in the comments. The poll will stay open only for a day or so, and because some of the questions overlap, you can vote more than once. Okay, go for it!

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

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21 responses to “David Coppedge Trial: Decision Tomorrow?

  1. NeonNoodle

    “William Becker declares decision the product of an activist judge.” Bet on it.

  2. docbill1351

    The Truth ™ will come out that the Darwinian Pressure Group, Delta Pi Gamma, got to the judge by promising to name a newly discovered Amazonian beetle after him.

  3. This is exciting and I appreciated the Sensuous Curmudgeon updates since there is very little buzz out there about this case.
    I’ve read both the plaintiff and defense briefs. I think the crux of the trial is the assertion by the plaintiff that it was a sham layoff. There are objective facts that contradict this; one being that the change in Cassini to an extended mission requiring fewer employees. (Never mentioned is that another person was also laid off). In addition the fact that Coppedge didn’t get his skills up to speed in a changing field like computer systems. It is a bit like canoeing upstream; to not paddle results in you going backwards. At a visceral level no judge is going to see this as a grievous case of termination for one’s religion. Case closed.

  4. With a complex theological reading of the judge’s decision, DI claim that Copperidge wins. Meanwhile in the real world……..

  5. Ando Hiroshige was born in 1797 and is one of Papan’s best known wood block artists. Around 1830 he started, under the influence of the great Hokusai, the series that made him famous: “”Eight Views of Omi”, “Famous Places of the Eastern Capital” and, above all these, “The 53 Stations of the Tokaido”.

    After the stunning success of this series, Hiroshige designed “Famous Views of the Main Island”, “Famous Views of Kyoto”, “The 69 Stations of the Kisokaido”, “Famous Places of the Sixty-odd Provinces”, “36 Views of Mount Fuji” and “One hundred famous places of Edo”.

    A parellel bet to Neon’s..
    this judge is cool. Hes got good DNA. (oops)
    Hiroshige’s pet Akito has been munching on excess DVD plastic lately ….

  6. Another option to bet on: a year from now, Casey Luskin will still be writing articles about how the loss for Coppedge was a win for ID.

  7. eric is basically on point, but it needs some fleshing out. This will be a win for ID, precisely because Coppedge will lose the lawsuit and the DI will reap the “expelled” benefit for years to come.

    I’m not sure how this case will play out financially. I don’t expect the ADF and DI to go broke through this case. OTOH one would think that losing a case of this expense magnitude has to hurt a bit. I don’t expect to see any indications that this will hurt the ADF or the DI, even if it does just a bit; they have to maintain the huffy-puffy breast-beating, and acting hurt won’t cut it.

  8. Rubble says:

    I’m not sure how this case will play out financially. I don’t expect the ADF and DI to go broke through this case. OTOH one would think that losing a case of this expense magnitude has to hurt a bit.

    The only important question is whether this kind of litigation is profitable for those lawyers who want to make a career out of this stuff. Cases that settle are probably okay, but the willingness of defendants to settle depends on the risk of going to trial and suffering a big loss. So for the lawyers who may see this as the next best thing to mesothelioma (whatever that is), this case is important.

  9. retiredsciguy

    SC: “…because some of the questions overlap, you can vote more than once.”

    Nope. The survey won’t allow it. As soon as you click on a second choice, the first pick clears. I wanted to pick both “JPL wins! Copedge gets zip, zero, nada, nihil”, and “The judge will suggest that “breathtaking inanity” was involved.”

  10. docbill1351

    What do the DI or AFDC care about money? They are “non-profit” scams. All they have to do is pass the costs on to their donors. Bottomless pit of whackaloons with money to throw away.

  11. retiredsciguy says: “As soon as you click on a second choice, the first pick clears.”

    I think you can only vote for one option at a time. After than, refresh your screen and then try it again. It should take another vote from you.

  12. Pete Moulton

    I couldn’t decide between “The judge will suggest that ‘breathtaking inanity’ was involved” and “There won’t be a decision on 08 June”, but finally went with the latter, on the grounds that I understand the judge is indisposed because paroxysms of laughter overtake him every time he tries to read Coppedge’s brief.

  13. Jack Hogan

    Bonus question… Will Coppedge have a migraine attack after the judge laughs him and his attorney out of court?

  14. No news yet of any decision.

  15. It’s after 5:00 in California, and nothing new has shown up at the clerk’s website. Maybe the judge made his decision but it didn’t get filed yet by the clerks. It’s possible that there may be some late news story about it, but at the moment it looks like we’re not going to get a decision.

  16. Jack Hogan

    The reporting on this trial has been filled with sloppy errors. No surprise it got the date of the decision date wrong. Maybe “may issue a ruling by June 8” was reported as “expected to”.

  17. “06/08/2012 Notice of Lodging
    Filed by Attorney for Defendant/Respondent”

    It would seem unlikely that it’s the decision (wouldn’t that be filed by the Clerk?), but at least it’s something.

  18. Hrafn, it’s a notice that JPL has submitted the last of its documents to the court. That seems to suggest a longer wait for the decision.

  19. Rubble says: “it’s a notice that JPL has submitted the last of its documents to the court.”

    Thanks. As for the newspaper’s incorrect 08 June prediction, it probably came from the Coppedge team, as JPL has never discussed the case with the press. One would think that by now the press should have learned their lesson.

  20. The case has still not been decided as of June 27. I notice recent activity on the court site:
    06/19/2012 Proof of Service
    Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff/Petitioner

    06/19/2012 Objection Document
    Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff/Petitioner

    Wonder what this is all about?

  21. Troy says: “Wonder what this is all about?”

    I saw that. My guess is that they’re arguing about what to do with the evidence — substitute copies for the originals, or leave the originals. But it could be anything of equally unimportant significance.