Court Rejects Davidian Claim Against U.S.


July 16, 2003, 07:57 AM
Court Rejects Davidian Claim Against U.S.
Tue Jul 15, 9:52 AM ET Add U.S. National - AP to My Yahoo!

By ALAN SAYRE, Associated Press Writer

NEW ORLEANS - A federal appeals court rejected an attempt by survivors to collect damages from the government for the deadly 1993 confrontation outside Waco, Texas, between federal agents and members of the Branch Davidian cult.

Without dissent, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (news - web sites) late Monday turned aside contentions that a lower court judge who ruled against the survivors was biased.

Scores of Branch Davidian members, including leader David Koresh, were killed in 1993 when government agents stormed their compound after a weekslong standoff. Survivors have been pursuing a wrongful death claim for years.

In September 2000 in Waco, U.S. District Judge Walter Smith rejected their lawsuit, backing the government contention that agents did not use excessive force in their tear gas assault on the compound. Smith found the Davidians themselves set the fire that killed nearly 80 men, women and children.

The appeal before the 5th Circuit basically dealt with one question: Was Smith biased against the Davidians because of remarks he made during the trial and his past relationships with government attorneys?

"We conclude that appellants' allegations do not reflect conduct that would cause a reasonable observer to question Judge Smith's impartiality," Chief 5th Circuit Judge Edith Jones wrote for the panel.

Attorneys for the survivors did not immediate return calls seeking comment Tuesday morning.

The Davidians had argued that Smith's comments on and off the bench showed "deep-seated antagonism" and "preconceptions" about the group, whose beliefs encompassed fierce hostility toward the government.

As an example, the survivors said Smith had called one Branch Davidian follower "crazy" and a murderer.

But government attorneys said Smith "displayed patience and diligence wading through enormously complicated legal and factual claims."

On Feb. 28, 1993, federal agents stormed the Branch Davidian compound looking for stockpiled automatic weapons and hand grenades. Four federal agents and three Davidians were killed in the clash.

For 51 days, the government attempted to get cult followers to leave the compound. On April 19, agents fired tear gas rounds into the compound and fire destroyed it.

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July 16, 2003, 10:10 AM
:barf: What a surprise. One gov. flunky decides another gov. flunky wasn't prejudiced in his rulings against someone injured by their boss and sueing that same boss. Kind of like the judge who didn't like the "not guilty" verdict brought in by the jury in the (surviving)Davidian's trial so he threw it out and found them all guilty. :barf:

:banghead: :fire: :banghead: Welcome to the new world. This will do sooo much to increase respect for the legal "system". Doubt if it will even make the back pages of most papers.

July 16, 2003, 10:15 AM
We have a "legal" system, not a "justice" system. The really depressing thing is a lot of people don't know the difference.................:(


July 17, 2003, 05:33 AM
You can't sue the king.

July 17, 2003, 08:28 AM
You can sue the king, but only in a manner that he approves.

Having a judge refer to a member of the plaintiff's group as crazy and murderer is certainly objectionable, and raises an appearance of bias. A stupid comment like that should have gotten them a new judge.

July 17, 2003, 09:18 AM
This is never going to be resolved. The govt judge rubber stamps the claims of the govt and approves of the govt's conduct. The Davidian surviviors are going to be left holding the bag. The govt got away with several murders it committed that day and justice will never prevail. Any and all judges dismissing these suits are accomplices in those murders.

July 17, 2003, 09:56 AM
Did you really expect any other decision? ? ? ? ?

July 17, 2003, 10:56 AM
You know, it's government coverups like this that fuels nut cases like McVeigh to do their evil deeds...:fire:

We need to have an open, independent investigation of EVERYTHING that happened there in April '93. That's the only way that this will ever get put to rest...

July 17, 2003, 12:30 PM
I am shocked ~shocked!~ that this could happen in this modern world!

July 17, 2003, 01:14 PM
The fallacy of checks and balances. The assumption being that the different branches of gov't (or in this case the different levels of courts) aren't simply going to cover each other's butts.

July 17, 2003, 01:20 PM

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