News from Dinosaur Adventure Land!

The mighty Kent Hovind has struck out.

On June 5th 2006, Hovind pled nolo contendere as
charged to three counts: constructing a building
without a permit, refusing to sign a citation and
violating the county building code. Hovind was ordered
to pay $225.00 per count. The plea brings to an end a
5-year battle over a $50.00 building permit. Hovind
estimates he spent $40,000 in legal expenses on this
case. Meanwhile, the property taxes for Dinosaur
Adventure Land are in arrears in an amount of
$10,338.36 ($4,955.23 for 2005 and 5,383.13 for 2003
and 2004).

In both criminal and civil trials in the United
States, a plea of “nolo contendere” means that the
defendant neither admits nor disputes the charge or no
contest. It literally means “I do not wish to
contend.” Spiro Agnew famously approximated it as “I
didn’t do it, but I’ll never do it again.” This plea
is only recognised in the U.S. No formal plea is
required in civil matters where paper pleadings are


  1. Carlie says

    The sad thing is that you know that people will donate all of the owed money, and it won’t phase him a bit. It will just give him more fodder to play the martyr.

  2. zohn smith says

    PZ, your link points to the wikipedia entry on dino land…where did you get this news from? I’m trying to understand whether hovind was penalized at all because a fine of $675 is not even a slap on the wrist…does he still get to keep that structure and conduct business there?

  3. James R says

    He spent $40,000.00 over a $50.00 permit. Gee that sounds about as intelligent as oh??? I don’t know uuhhmm Intelligent Design?

  4. says

    I didn’t realize all this bruhaha was over a $50 permit. And I don’t even make in a year as much as he spent in legal fees! Maybe Kent Hovind is a surrealist performance artist? This is so damned weird I can’t believe it’s real.

  5. zohn smith says

    I’m sure he fought the suit hoping that his god would intervene and smite his opponents…I’m pretty sure that was his wet dream all these years. Anyway, from the wikipedia article I came across a reference to his appearance on the “Ali G Show” and a quick web search turned out this gem . It’s quite funny!

  6. says

    So, let me get this straight. If he had only paid for a building permit, and taken care of his back taxes, he’d be about $29,500 ahead right now. Why is this not even remotely surprising?

  7. DavieC says

    In Scotland there is another verdict called “not proven”. ‘
    This means that “we know you dun it but the prosecutor has a wee bit to go before we send you to the Bar-L”. I believe this gets over the double jeopardy or “you cannae try me again” option. It’s not a bad thing as it allows the procurator fiscal the opportunity to return to nail the wee ballbag concerned if they find out a bit more information. I know it’s not relevant to the case you outlined, but it’s still fairly interesting and the word ballbag is particulary apt.. No?

  8. outeast says

    I’ve always thought the ‘not proven’ verdict sucked. It leaves a question mark hanging over the defendant’s head even when it is evident that the prosecution has failed to make a case, and it serves no purpose other than to do just that – there is nothing to stop someone being retried for the same offence anyway if new evidence arises that is sufficiently persuasive to merit a new prosecution (maybe the ‘not proven’ verdict lowers the bar for the latter condition, but if so that is most emphatically not a good thing). The ‘not proven’ verdict completely undermines the principle of the burden of proof: a very, very bad thing.

  9. guthrie says

    I dont know if the “not proven” verdict shields you from the double jeapoardy rule or not. Its one of these things I have been wondering about for ages, but forgot to ask teh QC I know.

  10. says

    According to Wikipedia, “not proven” does not leave the defendant open to double jeopardy – that is, he cannot be tried again for the same offence. Its only real use is to attach a stigma to the defendant – we know you did it but can’t prove it – which is similar to the nolo contendere effect, only imposed by the jury instead of voluntarily assumed.

  11. Scott Hatfield says

    “He spent $40,000.00 over a $50.00 permit.”

    Actually, no. He spent $40,000 (and probably not HIS money, you know) to establish that he is one of them there “heavily-persecuted Christians”—you know, the ones in the majority in this country?

    Carlie is right. He’ll turn this to his advantage and get other Christians to pony up more coin, either based on their enthusiasm for his version of creationism, support for the veiled dominionism which is behind his reluctance to acknowledge the authority of the state, or both.

    By the way, despite his well-publicized activities here, this guy makes most of his money selling creationist instructional materials to home-schoolers. That market is growing annually, so I regretfully conclude he’ll recoup his losses with quickness.


  12. says

    If I may play devil’s advocate for a moment:

    Several people have said that it was stupid of Hovind to spend $40,000 to fight a $50 building permit. But Scopes was fined $100 for teaching evolution. Rosa Parks was fined $10 and $4 in court costs for sitting in the front of the bus. I’m sure no one here would have advised them to just pay the fine and move on: sometimes, the amount of the fine is immaterial; what matters is the underlying principle.

    Now, I’m not saying that Hovind is right, or that the principle for which he’s fighting is at all correct. But his actions do seem consistent with someone arguing for a principle, and so the “It’s just $50. Pay it and move on” argument doesn’t apply.

    Also, there’s been a fair amount of debate as to whether Hovind is a sincere loony or a slick huckster. It occurs to me that this legal fight of his is prima facie evidence that he’s a sincere loon.

  13. John M Price says

    Not Proven is English, not US law.

    In California criminal cases, a plea of nolo contendere gives the court permission to treat you as guilty. In the case of a felony, you are actually found guilty as well. Misdemeanors are left as a nolo plea – i.e. no admission or finding of guilt, just punished as and recorded as guilty with a notation as to the plea.

    This also more or less indemnifies the defendant in any following civil case as any plaintiff in a related civil matter is then required to prove the case sans the criminal plea.

    Yes, I have a friend who specializes in criminal defense law….

  14. BlueIndependent says

    That Kent Hovind. What an idiot.

    Ya know, I figured he was only one small step up from the militia types that love guns, not paying for the social services they use, and their egos. The Wikipedia article cinches it for me. His defense of right-wing militias says a lot.

  15. says

    I e-mailed Pharyngula about Kent Hovind last night. From now on, he will have hoping that he does not try to bad .

    I was looking through other blogs supporting Hovind and made a comment. This Bro. Tim made a comment that I would not see God because I believe in evolution and he commentedmy web blog. After I comment that anyone who says I am going to hell, will to go hell, he make three same comments on how I was judgmental on Hovind.

  16. Pierce R. Butler says

    It seems a bit odd that the Pensacola News Journal web site contains no listings for “Hovind” in the last seven days…

  17. says

    Wouldn’t it be cool if some science-minded person bought Dinosaur Adventure Land and made it a real educational-type tourist trap, as opposed to the God-besotted scam Hovind built it to be?

  18. Charlie B. says

    “Not Proven is English, not US law.”

    It’s Scottish law, not English law. I know “English” and “British” are often used synonymously on the other side of the Pond, but “Scottish” and “Welsh” are not “English” (as you’ll find out if you ask a Scot how he or she rates England in the World Cup…)

  19. says

    Hovind was ordered to pay $225.00 per count

    It should have been more. People who make money by breaking the law should be fined at least double the money they made. I would like to see him fined double the income DAL has made since the first offense was committed.

  20. Pierce R. Butler says

    If you’re in the mood for some twisted humor, go to and click the “important message about Dinosaur Adventure Land” banner at the top of the page. That yields Hovind’s protracted whine about the judge has ordered the DAL buildings to be closed, but the outside playgrounds are still open; about how they’re being persecuted and how it’s unconstitutional to force the head of their operation, one J. Christ, to pay “taxes”; how the buildings are safe (not the issue at hand); that “DAL can move to a more God fearing county” (all counties in Fla require building permits, last I heard); the inescapable comparisons with Hitler & Saddam Hussein; etc, etc.

    Possibly the best part is that this rant gives two different names for the circuit judge ordering them to follow the law.