You might remember reading about our case involving three men arrested for reading from the Bible aloud outside the DMV in Hemet, CA. The officer told them that they weren’t allowed to “preach to a captive audience.” After placing the men in custody, the arresting officers learned that there is no such law, so the officers had to come up with a new charge–“interfering with an open business through obstruction or intimidation”. The DMV was actually closed at the time our clients were evangelizing and they were standing at least 50 feet away from the DMV entrance, so that citation did not stick. After political pressure was apparently exerted upon the Riverside County D.A. by the CHP, new charges were drummed-up and two of the men–Brett Coronado and Mark Mackey–were prosecuted for failing to have a permit to conduct a “demonstration or gathering.” Advocates defended Brett and Mark by arguing that merely reading the Bible out loud, in front of a group of people waiting in line, clearly did not amount to an illegal demonstration or gathering.
Our defense team did a fantastic job defending our clients and making it clear there was no crime committed by the men sharing the Gospel of Christ. The judge agreed and quickly found our clients “not guilty!” The judge also commented that he was concerned that the law being applied was unconstitutional. By the grace of God, our clients were victorious in this trial!
We were honored to be aided in this fight by our co-counsel, Nic Cocis, a devoted Christian lawyer who grew up in the Communist era in Romania. He understands how blessed we are here in America, and how vital it is that we always take a stand to preserve our liberties!
We had previously filed a federal lawsuit for unlawful arrest before these criminal charges were filed against the men. That federal lawsuit was stayed pending the outcome of this criminal case in State Court. We are now moving forward in Federal Court seeking to prove that the CHP violated the First Amendment by unlawfully arresting our clients and by their enforcement of an unconstitutional regulation.
The defendants were humiliated and stripped of their free speech protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution as they were unlawfully arrested without any probable cause that a crime occurred. We are confident the judge will see the injustice committed and rule in our favor.
This case is very important in deterring authorities from illegally arresting individuals for the peaceful expression of faith. Rarely does a day go by that we don’t see or hear on the news of someone’s religious freedom disregarded as secularism takes over our schools and work places. If we don’t fight back when cases like this occur, we might be the next ones told to leave our Bibles at home.
If you believe that everyone should have the right to spread the Word of God without the threat of arrest, please consider a financial gift to help us with this federal case. Any amount you contribute will help to fund the manpower, hours of legal and strategy preparation, filing fees, and travel costs to make sure we are properly equipped for what is to come.
In His Service,
P.S. We are staying busy fighting new attacks on religious freedom here in “the Land of the Free”. If you are not receiving our email updates, be sure to sign up online at www.Faith-Freedom.com where you can register for email updates, learn more about religious liberty, and make online donations to help us fight for your First Amendment rights. Please consider making a tax deductible gift today. Also, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and Twitter.