Loco Lawsuits: Satan in Court

As noted in the last installment of Loco Lawsuits, incorporeality makes it difficult to haul deities into court. But, as one aphorism maintains, “Where there’s a will there’s a lawsuit.”

Adrian Moon, a California prison inmate, is well known to the Central Division of Califonia’s U.S. District Court. He’s filed plenty of challenges to his incarceration. In a 2019 habeas corpus petition, “Satan the Devil” was one of the defendants. Moon’s petition asserted that “Satan the Devil” ordered his underlings to force Moon into slavery and bondage. He also claimed that “Satan the devil,” against the Ten Commandments, criminally violated his unalienable rights as a man. Finally, there was “Ineffective Assistance of Evil Satanic Counsel.”

While the judge called Moon’s allegations “largely unintelligible and delusional,” that isn’t why he dismissed the petition. Rather, he invoked the well-established rule that before a federal habeas corpus action can be brought, state courts must first be presented with and rule upon the claims. At least as of the time of the judge’s ruling, state courts had not addressed Satan’s role in Moon’s imprisonment.

The devil also was a defendant in a much earlier Pennsylvania federal court lawsuit. Gerald Mayo sued “Satan and His Staff” in 1971 for violating his civil rights. The lawsuit claimed that on numerous occasions Satan caused Mayo misery, placed deliberate obstacles in his path, and caused Mayo’s downfall. Satan’s unearthliness was a problem. “We question whether plaintiff may obtain personal jurisdiction over the defendant in this judicial district,” the court said in dismissing the action. “The complaint contains no allegation of residence in this district.”

Don’t you know there ain’t no Devil, that’s just God when he’s drunk

Tom Waits, Title track, Heartattack and Vine

Comments are closed.