Sitemap | Contact | Search | Employment
  Legal Agenda  
  Landmark Cases  
  Case Docket  
  Immigrant Justice  
  Mississippi Youth Justice  
  Legal News  
  Legal FAQ  
  Legal Assistance  
  Contact Legal Action  
Keenan v. Aryan Nations
Aryan Nations Case

AGENDA AREA: Hate Groups/Hate Crimes

Case Number:   CV-99-441
Court where filed:   District Court of the First Judicial District, Idaho, Kootenai County
Date filed:   01/25/1999
Status:   Won
Richard Butler, head of the infamous Aryan Nations
(Jenny Warburg)
Plaintiffs: Victoria and Jason Keenan, chased and shot at by members of the white supremacist Aryan Nations
Defendants: Aryan Nations, a.k.a. Church of Jesus Christ Christian; its leader and founder Richard Butler; other Aryan Nations members
Co-Counsel: Norman Gissel
Date(s) of Disposition:

Hate group compound to peace park
In July 1998, security guards at the Aryan Nations compound in Idaho shot at Victoria Keenan and her son after their car backfired nearby. The Keenans were returning from a wedding and stopped briefly near the compound to look for a wallet that had fallen out the car.

Bullets struck their car several times before the vehicle careened into a ditch. Members of the group held the Keenans at gunpoint.

The compound was heavily guarded and consisted of the home of Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler and several other structures. For decades, it had served as the meeting place for the nation's most violent white supremacists.

The Center filed Keenan v. Aryan Nations, seeking justice for the bruised and traumatized Keenans. After a weeklong trial, a jury ruled that Butler and his organization were grossly negligent in selecting and supervising the guards. In September 2000, they awarded a $6.3 million jury verdict against the Aryan Nations and Butler.

The judgment forced Butler to turn over the 20-acre compound to the Keenans. The Keenans in turn sold the property to a philanthropist who later donated it to a local college.

» Return to the Case Docket