You may remember the case about the man who was arrested for reading the Bible aloud in front of a DMV. This man was arrested for “preaching to a captive audience.” After realizing there is no such law, the officer issued a citation for interfering with an open business through obstruction and/or intimidation. The District Attorney realized that neither of those claims were valid and, instead, prosecuted our clients for failing to have a permit pursuant to a vague and little-known state regulation.
After successfully defending this man in criminal court, we filed a civil law suit in federal court for unlawful arrest and false imprisonment. The case was brought before the US District Court for the Central District of California where a judge ignored the lack of probable cause to arrest our client and said his First Amendment rights were not violated.
We disagree with her decision and are taking the fight to the next level, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Opening briefs are scheduled to be filed in July.
Barred from Sharing Faith
Advocates is serving as co-counsel to the Center for Religious Expression (CRE) in a law suit against San Bernardino County officials on behalf of Mark Mante who was prohibited from sharing his Christian faith on public sidewalks outside of two San Bernardino courthouses. As a result of a court order, Mante has been barred from speaking or handing out literature referencing his Christian beliefs in the public spaces in and around courthouse grounds.
For over 5 years, Mante routinely stood on public property outside the historic San Bernardino Courthouse and shared his faith. But on Dec. 3, 2012, a deputy sheriff stopped Mante and told him about a court order that required Mante to abandon his expressive activities and leave the area. The sheriff provided Mante with a copy of the order detailing a policy regulating speech activities outside of county courthouses. Mante soon learned that he could be subject to sanctions up to $1,500.00 each time he tried to share his Christian faith, even if it was during a one-on-one conversation.
This is an important lawsuit that challenges the dangerous policy of prohibiting speech in public forums. We are proud to partner with CRE’s Chief Counsel, Nate Kellum, to defend Mante’s First Amendment right to peacefully share his faith with willing listeners. This type of speech is protected by our Constitution, and it’s a shame that it is prohibited at a courthouse, of all places.
We appreciate your prayers and support as we continue to fight for your religious liberties. Please consider making a tax deductible donation today of $10, $50, $100, or $500. Be assured of our prayers for you, and may God bless you and your loved ones.
In His Service,