David Coppedge Trial: Final Order Issued

At last, we’ve reached the end of the trial 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. Coppedge 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 the Pasadena Sun we read: Judge rules in JPL’s favor in wrongful termination lawsuit. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

David Coppedge, the man who sued the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and claimed the agency discriminated against him for his explicit religious view, has lost his wrongful termination lawsuit, according to court documents released Wednesday. Judge Ernest Hiroshige said Coppedge claims of discrimination and wrongful termination “fails, and judgment on this claim shall be entered in favor of Caltech.”

We’ve known this was coming. When the trial ended, the judge told JPL-Caltech to write up a final decision document that rules against Coppedge on all counts, and for the last couple of months Coppedge has been objecting to the proposed order.

The clerk’s docket at the courthouse indicates that the final order has been entered, but that final order doesn’t yet appear at the archive maintained by our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), located here: NCSE’s Coppedge archive. When they have it we’ll post a link and a few excerpts.

Meanwhile, the Pasadena Sun has obtained a statement from Coppedge’s attorney:

“David was the victim of religious discrimination because a handful of malicious co-workers hated his Christian views, as well as his interest in intelligent design, which they ignorantly perceived to be a religious concept,” Coppedge’s attorney William Becker said in a statement Thursday. “He was demoted and fired for simply being a Christian and someone who believes that nature can be scientifically explained by reference to designs found within it.”

Becker isn’t happy. Let’s see, he mentioned that Coppedge had “malicious” co-workers who “hated” his Christian views and his interest in intelligent design, which they “ignorantly” perceived to be a religious concept. Strong language indeed.

There’s another story in the La Cañada Valley Sun of La Cañada Flintridge, California — where JPL is headquartered. Their headline is Judge confirms earlier ruling, sides with JPL in ‘intelligent design’ case.

That’s a strange headline, as this never was a case about intelligent design. Well, let’s see what they say. The bold font was added by us:

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Wednesday confirmed an earlier ruling that found Jet Propulsion Laboratory administrators did not discriminate against a longtime staffer when they laid him off in 2011.

Fair enough. Let’s read on:

David Coppedge — a former lead systems administrator on the Cassini Mission to Saturn who worked at JPL for 15 years — filed a lawsuit in 2009 …

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That newspaper doesn’t have a clue who Coppedge was or what the case was all about! We continue:

The final ruling by Superior Court Judge Ernest Hiroshige confirms his tentative ruling issued less than three months ago, which came down against Coppedge on every claim. He also overruled all objections filed by Coppedge’s legal team.

We figured that. Then they quote Becker’s statement which we already gave you, and they add this:

“By failing to address the evidence personally, thoughtfully and carefully, [Hiroshige] left the door wide open,” said Becker. “By overruling our objections without giving a reason, the judge has all but handed us a victory on appeal.”

So there you are, dear reader. We’ll have more to say about this when the final order is available, and when we hear from the usual suspects. And after that there’s sure to be an appeal. Stay tuned to this blog.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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13 responses to “David Coppedge Trial: Final Order Issued

  1. ““By overruling our objections without giving a reason, the judge has all but handed us a victory on appeal.”

    The American tanks are nowhere near Baghdad!

  2. doodlebugger

    If Becker opens and closes his briefcase a few times, the latches will make designs in the horsemanure he carries around in it as well.
    Thats howinteligunt dezine got started..:)

  3. Too bad Becker’s law school (he DID go to law school, didn’t he?) didn’t run old Perry Mason’s. At least he would know the protocol.

    Lawyer: Objection. Hearsay.
    Judge: Overruled.

    Lawyer: Objection. Leading the witness.
    Judge: Sustained.

    It’s the lawyer who has to provide the reason, not the judge.

    But don’t be sad, boys and girls. We’ll be in the appeal process until at least 2015! Now cue Klappertrapper to tell us how the elitist, atheist, leftist Darwin Lobby forced the judicial system to crush this “lovely, gentle little man; sweet, sweet fellow” in three, two, one …

  4. I’m sure the Discoveroids will take turns giving their spin to this. The next few days should provide some very humorous essays…

  5. docbill1351 says: “At least he would know the protocol.”

    We’ve all seen losing lawyers who get microphones thrust into their faces as they’re leaving the courthouse. They usually manage to mutter something like: “We’re very disappointed the judge didn’t agree with us, but we think he made some errors and we hope to win a new trial on appeal.”

  6. I had figured that Becker wasn’t writing the drivel during the past two months. I thought that it was mostly Coppedge’s bile. It looks like I was wrong.

  7. I rather think Becker will continue representing Coppy till the money runs out.

  8. Charley Horse

    Ah shucks…I am more interested in knowing how much
    the JPL lawyers asked for in $$$$.
    The more the judge allows JPL the bigger the bargaining chip
    as to appealing or not..

    And I don’t think we know if Coppedge is personally on the hook
    or if his deal is with someone else to cover him in case JPL is
    awarded their expenses to defend this nuisance suit.

  9. I’m looking forward to seeing the transcript.

    Maybe we can take copper’s suggestion and make a play out of it.

  10. Ceteris Paribus

    Sheesh, what ignorance of the proper use of show trials abounds in the ID world. Before Coppedge launches an appeal, the DI and ICR need to put together some Hollywood consultants to intervene in the project.

    Look, Coppedge is an old, cranky, white male, and obsolete in his career track. In other words, Coppedge is to the creation science movement as the Tea Party is to the current Republican Party. No rational person need pay attention to the farces unless they have a prurient interest in watching meltdowns.

    Fifty years ago when Hollywood made a hit out of the Scopes’ trial, they knew the central player needed to be young and likeable by an audience. When the old farts at ICR and DI can find a similar character for their passion plays, maybe they will increase their audience.

  11. We need to write a petition, maybe on We The People, and get real scientists to sign it, announcing that we reject the false accusations of widespread religious intolerance and suppression of the assertions of intelligent design and creationism.

    The DI will probably whip another bull petition, and we need to pre-empt that with a strongly worded petition stating clearly that:

    1. We reject the false accusations of widespread religious discrimination in the scientific community, pernicious accusations based on factually false claims, and that are intended to promote prejudice and hostility against scientists. In fact, the scientific community is religiously diverse and tolerant of religious differences, unlike the Intelligent Design and creationist movements, which are not. The scientific community is transnational, transethnic, and transreligious, consisting of people from all backgrounds and creeds working together, united by a common dedication to the use of the scientific method as a means of supporting or rejecting scientific hypotheses.

    2. We reject the false accusations of suppression of intelligent design and/or creationist ideas, accusations that are based on urban legends and factually false statements promoted by creationists. Creationist and Intelligent Design assertions have been treated the same as other assertions that do not make testable predictions confirmable by observation: such ideas have not been supported in the scientific literature and have not received funding from scientific funding sources, because these ideas do not make testable predictions that could, even in principle, be compared against observations. They are not supported by evidence and cannot be tested by the scientific method.

    3. We reject the false assertions by creationists and ID proponents that their publications and research funding proposals were unfairly rejected by the scientific community. In fact, when creationists and ID proponents are asked to present real examples of research funding proposals and publications that were supposedly unfairly “rejected”, creationists and ID proponents have not provided documentation showing that these research funding proposals and publications were ever written, ever submitted for review, or that they ever existed.

    4. Further evidence of this is that creationists and the ID movement have had large amounts of funding and resources made available exclusively to them by religious sources, including the Templeton foundation and archconservative billionaires. Despite these great resources made available exclusively to them in a discriminatory fashion, they have not focused on scientific research and experimentation, but have instead focused almost entirely on political lobbying. The record shows that even when great resources and funding are made available exclusively to creationists and ID proponents in a discriminatory fashion, scientific research supporting their assertions does not result. Rather the only result is political lobbying based of pernicious and false claims of discrimination.

    5. Ironically, the political lobbying activities and false accusations of discrimination made by creationists and ID proponents, are themselves funded by significant resources made available only to creationists and ID proponents in a discriminatory fashion.

    6. To summarize: we reject as factually false attempts by creationists and the ID movement to promote hostility and prejudice against scientists by means of urban legends and accusations of religious discrimination.

  12. Diogenes says: “We need to write a petition”

    I don’t know how such things work or if they have any effect. But I suggest that yours should be about half as long as it is. In my humble opinion, such things should be brief and unambiguous. The Clergy Letter is a good example of brevity.

  13. techreseller

    This comment has nothing to do with the Coppedge affair. Sorry. But this article has a comment “(a “Jerry-of-the-gaps” argument!) that I thought everyone on this site would enjoy. And yes it is about evolution.