If you don’t get a runaway jury in a KKK case…
I think I speak for most Americans when I say the only good thing about the KKK is that it demonstrates just how broad our First Amendment rights are. While I personally find their message repugnant, I am deeply thankful that the First Amendment allows them to spread it. Kia recently wrote about the wonderful verdict against the KKK because its members, while acting on behalf of the Klan, viciously beat a 16 year-old U.S. Citizen of Panamanian descent.
The victim of the beating received a broken jaw, a broken arm, two cracked ribs, permanent nerve damage, and psychological trauma after being stomped on repeatedly by Klan members who were wearing steel-toed boots.
Despite the severity of the injuries, and despite the unpopularity of the defendant, the jury returned a reasonable verdict: $1.5 million dollars in compensatory damages, and $1 million dollars in punitive damages. This $2.5 million verdict is less than half of the $6 million the plaintiff was originally seeking.
The fact that the jury didn’t return an outlandish multibillion dollar verdict, or even give the plaintiff $6 million, shows that juries can and do weigh the evidence and make their decisions based on evidence and not emotions.