This isn't the first time Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines has gotten into hot water for airing her opinions. But this time, an Arkansas judge backed her up. District Court Judge Brian S. Miller has ordered the plaintiff in a defamation suit against the singer to pay the court costs accrued from defending the suit he dismissed in December of 2009.
According to CBS News, the suit was brought by Terry Hobbs, the step-father of one of three young boys killed in 1993. The three then-teenagers convicted of that crime are now known as the West Memphis Three. Their conviction, which many believe to be totally unsupported by the evidence, has become a cause célèbre.
During a rally in Little Rock Ark. in 2007, and in a letter she wrote seeking contribution to the legal defense fund for the convicted men, Maines made comments that Hobbs claimed accused him of the murder. CBS reports the letter cited a DNA test that found a hair belonging to Hobbs on a shoelace used during the murder. Hobbs sued in 2008, claiming that the letter, "when taken as a whole, accused (Hobbs) of committing the murder of Steve Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore."
CBS reports the judge found that Hobbs had "voluntarily injected himself into the public controversy" surrounding the murders and the subsequent convictions. According to an AP report of the dismissal, the judge found Maines' comments were not made with a reckless disregard for the truth or that she knew them to be false they were made. The judge has ordered Hobbs to pay Maines $17,590 to cover her costs of defending the suit.