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Two for one

USATODAY.com - Jury awards $11.3M over defamatory Internet posts "What's interesting about this case is that (Scheff) was so vested in being vindicated, she was willing to pay court costs," Lidsky says. "They knew before trial that the defendant couldn't pay, so what's the point in going to the jury?"

Bock says that when she moved back to her repaired house over the summer, she knew the trial was approaching but did not know the date. She says she doesn't have the money to pay the judgment or hire a lawyer to appeal it. She adds that if the goal of Scheff's lawsuit was to stifle what Bock says online, it worked.

"I don't feel like I can express my opinions," Bock says. "Only one side of the story was told in court. Nobody heard my side."

So the lesson here is that you should feel free to speak your mind, but only if can afford to be sued. Since this is more than most average folk can afford, it seems that free speech is reserved for the affluent.

In principle, is this different from hiring a gang of thugs to beat up someone you don't like?