A federal judge
has reduced by more than half the amount of damages that
a fundamentalist Kansas church must pay to the father of a
Marine who was killed in Iraq.
Baptist Church and three of its members, who picket military
funerals out of a belief that the war in Iraq is a
punishment for the nation's tolerance of gays, must
pay Albert Snyder damages of $5 million for emotional
distress and invasion of privacy, U.S. district judge
Richard Bennett ruled Monday. The original jury award in
October was $10.9 million.
cited the need to weigh any harm Snyder suffered against
the financial resources of the church.
Snyder sued the
Topeka, Kan., church after a 2006 demonstration at the
Maryland funeral of his son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew
Snyder. He claimed the demonstration intruded upon
what should have been a private ceremony and sullied
his memory of the event.
A jury agreed,
and in October found the church and three of its leaders
-- Fred Phelps and his two daughters, Shirley Phelps-Roper
and Rebekah Phelps-Davis -- liable for invasion of
privacy and intent to inflict emotional distress.
appeal of the verdict is still pending. (AP)