Diaspora News

Christmas-obsessed lawyer faces being disbarred after festive display

An attorney dubbed the ‘Christmas lawyer’ has revealed he faces being struck off after criticizing the judge who banned one of the world’s most spectacular festive displays at his Idaho home...READ THE FULL ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE▶▶

Jeremy Morris attracted thousands of visitors to his house outside Hayden with a monumental display featuring a live nativity scene, a camel and 700,000 lightbulbs.

But he also attracted the fury of his neighbors and the attention of Apple TV+ which featured the row in its 2021 documentary ‘Twas the Fight Before Christmas’.

The attorney slammed Federal judge B. Lynn Winmill as ‘corrupt’ and a ‘hateful anti-Christian bigot’ after he overturned a unanimous jury verdict and ordered the lights out.

Now Morris says he has been driven out of the state and faces being disbarred by the Idaho State Bar for ‘standing up for Christmas’.

Jeremy Morris' home outside Hayden was decorated with hundreds of thousands of bulbs to he fury his neighbors who threatened him with a lawsuit

Jeremy Morris’ home outside Hayden was decorated with hundreds of thousands of bulbs to he fury his neighbors who threatened him with a lawsuit

He infuriated neighbors who accused him of ignoring HOA rules requiring lights to be 'restrained'. The row garnered international attention and was the subject of the Apple+ TV show 'Twas The Fight Before Christmas'

He infuriated neighbors who accused him of ignoring HOA rules requiring lights to be ‘restrained’. The row garnered international attention and was the subject of the Apple+ TV show ‘Twas The Fight Before Christmas’

Thousands of visitors from as far away as Canada made the pilgrimage each year to the home

Thousands of visitors from as far away as Canada made the pilgrimage each year to the home

‘This particular judge attempted to cancel Christmas,’ Morris told Fox News.

It’s no different than what King Herod did 2,000 years ago when he tried to stop the very first Christmas.’

The lawyer attracted hundreds of visitors to his first Christmas display in 2014 shortly before he moved to the home in Kootenai County.

Keen to repeat his success he wrote to his new neighborhood homeowners association (HOA) to alert them to his plans for the following Christmas.

I reached out to the HOA and just said, ‘Hey, look, we’re going to do this thing. Maybe you have some ideas.

I’m thinking maybe doing shuttles because there aren’t sidewalks. What do you think? In a very cordial way.’

But his new neighbors were not impressed and wrote back warning of offence to ‘non-Christians’, and the likelihood of attracting ‘possible undesirables’.

The HOA also pointed out covenants requiring lights in the neighborhoods to be ‘restrained’, and avoid ‘excessive brightness’.

I realized if I don’t fight back, and I’m a lawyer, you know, who would?’ Morris said.

I was in this position to actually take a stand for Christmas. And that’s why I became the lawyer who basically fought for and saved Christmas.’

The lawyer said he realized he was 'in this position to actually take a stand for Christmas'

The lawyer said he realized he was ‘in this position to actually take a stand for Christmas’

A full-sized Santa's sleigh completes the look outside the home in Kootenai County

 A full-sized Santa’s sleigh completes the look outside the home in Kootenai County

Morris quickly made enemies among his community who accused him of obsessively documenting their own breaches of HOA rules

Morris quickly made enemies among his community who accused him of obsessively documenting their own breaches of HOA rules

Morris rejected the objections and found his home the center of international press attention when he defied a legal letter threatening a lawsuit if he did not remove the lights within 10 days.

Thousands of people from as far away as Canada and news crews from across the world arrived over the course of five evenings to see the display which raised money for children’s charities.

But the conflict escalated the following year when Morris accused neighbors of harassing visitors and even trying to stage an accident when shuttle busses passed by.

He claims neighbors were determined to end his display by any means necessary and one even threatened to ‘take care of him’.

He fought back suing the HOA in January 2017 for religious discrimination in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

Morris described it as a ‘Miracle on 34th Street in the modern era’, when the jury ruled unanimously in his favor and ordered the HOA to pay $75,000.

But neighbors painted Morris as an extremist bully who secretly recorded their conversations and obsessively documented other HOA members’ alleged rule violations to build his case.

When they appealed the decision, Judge Winmill overturned the verdict and ordered Morris to pay the HOA’s legal fees of $111,000.

He said the secret recordings showed him behaving in an ‘aggressively confrontational’ way and permanently banned Morris from staging a Christmas display without HOA permission.

The case is now awaiting a decision from the 9th Circuit but in 2021 Morris filed a judicial misconduct claim against Winmill, claiming the judge unfairly struck down testimony from the majority of his witnesses.

Now he has revealed that his public criticism of the judge has left his career hanging by a thread after he received a letter from the Idaho State Bar warning it has found ‘probable cause to proceed with formal charges’ under Idaho’s professional conduct rule.

That rule prohibits a lawyer from making statements ‘with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge’.

Morris has left his home and moved out of state but claims the pending case is making it hard for him to find a job.

¿I was in this position to actually take a stand for Christmas, and that's why I became the lawyer who basically fought for and saved Christmas,' Morris said

I was in this position to actually take a stand for Christmas, and that’s why I became the lawyer who basically fought for and saved Christmas,’ Morris said

The HOA told Morris it was concerned the Christmas display would offend 'non-Christians'

The HOA told Morris it was concerned the Christmas display would offend ‘non-Christians’

Carol singers a live nativity and a genuine camel added to the authenticity of the display

Carol singers a live nativity and a genuine camel added to the authenticity of the display

‘The law says that even as an attorney, I do not lose the freedom of speech in this country to speak about things, particularly about corruption,’ Morris told Fox News.

There is no Christmas light show at his new home this year but the ‘Christmas lawyer’ has promised to return with an ‘even bigger, epic display’ next year, and says he has ‘zero’ regrets.

I’m so proud of the stand that I took and the opportunity that I’ve given to people who hate me, who hate my family, who hate my beliefs, to turn the other cheek,’ he said.

I would do it again.’

About the author

Kylian Walterlin

Leave a Comment