Anti-LGBTQ hate group, Liberty Counsel, is on the receiving end of some life-threatening litigation. Janet Jenkins is suing Mad Mat Staver and Liberty Counsel over their alleged complicity in the international kidnapping of Jenkins’ daughter, Isabella by Jenkins’ ex-wife, Lisa Miller. Ms. Jenkins is represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center and a Vermont firm, Langrock Sperry & Wool. This sordid saga began nearly 17 years ago.
The short version is that Janet Jenkins marries Lisa Miller in 2001. The couple have a daughter, Isabella. Miller gets religion. The couple split. Miller defies court ordered visitation by Jenkins.
Eventually Janet Jenkins gets full custody. Lisa Miller escapes to Canada and then travels with Isabella to Nicaragua where she apparently remains to this day. From the outset, Miller has been aided by conservative Christians who insist that they are protecting Isabella. Few things are as dangerous as people who believe that they are acting on behalf of a deity.
Based on the information that I have seen, I believe that Staver was complicit in the kidnapping. If Jenkins is successful the judge could very well refer this matter to the bar association and even to federal prosecutors. Already, three people have been “guests” of the federal government for as long as three years and the room service sucked.
On Saturday, according to Liberty Counsel, SPLC goes fishing. Mad Mat Staver is complaining that they were forced to produce some 13,000 documents in discovery. Oh the poor dear. Turns out that Staver and Liberty Counsel were added as defendants nearly three years ago. In 2017, Staver & Co. attempted to have this matter dismissed as a SLAPP suit (which was ridiculous on its face). Other grounds for dismissal were tried, … and failed.
Staver being Staver, at each failure he and Liberty Counsel appealed to the Second Circuit. No dice. Second Circuit en banc. Nope. Staver attempted the same BS that he is known for with a New England “Down-East” judge who isn’t having any of it. Then they tried to get a stay on discovery pending other appeals. That didn’t work either. Mad Mat Staver and Liberty Counsel have known what their discovery obligations were since August, 2018.
I should mention that the hate group has retained local Vermont counsel in the form of Anthony R. Duprey who is with the firm of Neuse, Duprey & Putnam. Duprey is no idiot. I am quite certain that Staver is driving him mad.
On August 29, 2018 the parties stipulated and agreed to commence discovery and to conclude the process by August 29, 2019. In April, 2019 the parties stipulated to an additional six weeks in time. According to an exasperated lawyer, J. Tyler Clemons at the SPLC:
months ago, discovery is still in preliminary stages. For example, defendant Liberty Counsel
has not yet produced any documents (although it has promised to produce documents by
Meanwhile it took the defendants until February, 2019 (six months after the original stipulation) to serve discovery requests on the plaintiff (Janet Jenkins). Among other things they requested a complete income and employment history going back to 2004. Who is fishing? On top of that they demanded all of Jenkins’ health records and a complete dating history. (The judge denied the dating history.) The judge went through the laundry list, granting some, denying others and granting some with a confidentiality order.
The defendants had the balls to claim that Jenkins and her attorneys were not acting in good faith, requesting compensatory costs and fees. The judge denied that request.
Keep in mind that Liberty Counsel stipulated to a discovery schedule in August, 2018. According to the judge:
identical responses and objections to Plaintiffs’ Requests. … Liberty Counsel also made a production of 225 pages, 224
of which consisted of grayscale printouts from Facebook,
YouTube, and Liberty Counsel’s own websites. … Liberty Counsel and [co-defendant] Lindevalsen have produced a combined total
of 571 pages in response, of which 539 pages are printouts from
publicly available websites.
You already know how the judge reacted given that Staver is complaining about handing over 13,000 pages of documents more than four months after the original stipulated completion date. I agree that 13,000 documents (possibly pages) is a lot of material. Consider this. The 16 months that were required amounted to about 320 business days at a rate of 40 documents (or pages) per day. It doesn’t sound so terribly onerous.
According to Mat Staver, the SPLC is the enemy. Staver was determined to do everything possible to make life as difficult as possible.
Were the Southern Poverty Law Center to cease operations tomorrow, Liberty Counsel, led by Mad Mat Staver, would still be a hate group. Liberty Counsel is solely responsible, by virtue of their terrible behavior, for being deemed a hate group. This reminds me of some guy who doesn’t pay his bills on time and then blames the credit bureau for his terrible credit.
For all his whining and moaning about the SPLC, Staver has never offered a meaningful response. Staver is a lawyer who cannot construct a coherent argument. The SPLC is very specific about why Liberty Counsel is listed as a hate group. Instead of addressing SPLC’s determination Staver indulges in an argument ad hominem. The SPLC has too much money or the SPLC is radical or the SPLC is a godless left-wing organization. The SPLC is anti-Christian.
In many ways this case serves as a reminder of just how hateful Liberty Counsel and Mad Mat Staver are. Regardless of how this case turns out, these people conspired with Lisa Miller to deny lawful parental rights to Janet Jenkins. They did so for only one reason: Janet Jenkins is gay.
Mat Staver and Liberty Counsel demonstrate their sheer hatred of LGBTQ people on every day of their existence. Staver is also reportedly a Young Earth creationist. I suppose that someone who is capable of believing that the universe is less than 10,000 years old is capable of believing just about anything.
Liberty Counsel is improperly deemed to be a church auxiliary. It did not qualify as such at the outset. As such it is not required to file an annual report (form 990) with the Internal Revenue Service. I continue to travel on multiple avenues in order to see that designation revoked.