FIRST ON 3: Judge Ola Lewis awarded $105,000 in libel case


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Submitted: Fri, 01/25/2013 - 10:40pm
Updated: Mon, 01/28/2013 - 1:31am
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BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) — After four days of testimony, a jury found Edward Rapp guilty of libel. Brunswick County Judge Ola Lewis was awarded $105,000.

For the second time in two years a jury was asked to distinguish between first amendment rights and libel in a case involving the Brunswick County judge.

When Edward Rapp made a post on his Facebook page questioning whether a judge could openly support a candidate, Brunswick County Resident Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis took exception.

The defense maintained throughout the trial that Rapp’s comments were not out of line with public opinion of Judge Lewis, but today a jury disagreed.

19 Comments

  • Guest20562 says:

    what a waste of time and tax payers money.

  • Guest9743 says:

    Way to go Judge Lewis!!

  • GuestTBagger says:

    I posted earlier about the ACLU and my then belief that this matter was more about protected free speech and not libel. I read more deeply and consulted the NC Code of Judicial Conduct.

    Canon 7 in this code says that “A judge may engage in political activity consistent with his status as a public official.”

    Canon 7 defines “Permissible political conduct” in Section B. In Paragraph (2) of Section B it is stated that “if he is a candidate, endorse any individual seeking election to any office or conduct a joint campaign with and endorse other individuals seeking election to judicial office…”

    Congratulations, Judge Lewis! I applaud you for standing up for your rights.

  • Guest9743 says:

    I agree with you on the facebook thing…I’ve never been on facebook and never intend go on it. This may not be true but I’ve heard it has gotten a lot of people in trouble at work and at home.

  • GuestRCribb says:

    First, did you except anything other than going “her” way. Second, if adults would leave “facebook” out of their lives and be mature adults they would’nt have these things to worry about…..

  • saundra king says:

    Judge Lewis is one of the finest judges we have in Brunswick County. She has worked very hard to help men and women with drug and alcohol additions successfully regain a normal life living, instead of going to prison! People need to be careful what they say about others, I don’t blame her one bit, we all should have the right to do the same thing when someone say something slandering about us. It should be against the law! People truly get hurt behind this sort of tactics!bo

  • Let Freedom Reign says:

    ACLU should be able to file an appeal

  • Allen Turner says:

    Why should the ACLU be able to file an appeal? The ACLU was not a party to this case.

  • Public Money says:

    12 local people from Judge Lewis’ personal court jurisdiction forced to sit in court for days until being forced to choose a verdict at 5 pm on Friday could not be expected to freely decide without the undue pressure of how they may be treated if ever faced with appearing in front of her in the future. It’s time the legislature start regulating courts time by statute and the amount of daily hours court personnel are permitted to use tax resources for personal civil cases such as this.

  • Anotherview says:

    There is not a first amendment right to lie about someone publicly

  • GuestTBagger says:

    The ACLU did weigh in on the case of Westboro Baptist Church vs. Snyder in favor of Westboro. The Supreme Court ultimately decided in favor of Westboro against a family member of a deceased soldier who suffered immensely as a result of Westboro’s hateful taunts.

    I am willing to bet that the ACLU will stand up for Rapp’s free speech rights which have been stifled by a bullying official.

  • Guest43907 says:

    Congrats Judge Lewis…..I am happy for you that things turned out the way they did. One thing you must know is that there will be one disappointed talk show host on the Big Talker on Monday morning because he thought he already knew the outcome!!

  • Guest55 says:

    That’s why it pays to think…verify…then speak. Emotional responses always come back to bite….and write only what you can stand on…otherwise you sink.

  • Guesttenheimer says:

    If you would like to quote and reference the first ammendment, you need to read it and CLEARLY understand it. Confusing “free speech” with “written accusations” is a common mistake made by those that don’t understand. It can be very costly and time consuming mistake, especially when addressing someone whoe DOES understand the 1st Ammendment AND law…Like a judge.

    Rapp clearly picked the wrong adversary to spout his mouth off about! He will pay for the remainder of his life due to his own lack of knowledge and his inability to keep his flytrap shut.

    And I add to that: Thank you FaceBook! Once again, you expose the idiocy of the people that purposely and voluntarily allow you to exploit them, only by them giving up THIER RIGHT TO PRIVACY!!! Anyone want to take THAT one to court?

    Didn’t think so…….

  • B M says:

    this trial seems a bit thin skinned when you consider a judge that sits on the bench that doesn’t acknowledge 1st amendment rights even though they fall in their own back yards, just a little amazed that this would have even been a trial issue, guess we can no longer express an opinion, hope this comment doesn’t offend anyone, not meant to.

  • Rob Surf City says:

    I’m sure she will donate this windfall to charity. Let’s see which one she selects.

  • Guest 211 says:

    DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATHE ON THAT ONE.Worship nothing

  • One of the people says:

    Unless you were actually there in the courtroom with the facts of the case, I don’t think anyone can judge the jury on their decision.

  • reddixie says:

    The main reason for the trial was to determine whether or not Mr. Rapp had maliciously put forth information on the internet about Judge Lewis. Not anything to do with public opinion. Leaving certain pertinent information out of comments, basically, put this trial in motion in the first place.

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