A court has said that a pair of Christians were “allowed” to read the Bible aloud outside the Department of Motor Vehicles in Hemet, California. Wasn’t it kind of the government courts in California to say that these Christians were allowed to have their rights to free religious expression?
Back in 2011 Mark Mackey and Bret Coronado were arrested and charged with misdemeanor offenses for reading the Bible outside the DMV location.
But on August 13, Superior Court Judge Timothy Freer found the men “not guilty” of any offenses.
Prosecutors had to prove that the men needed a permit for their Bible reading, but were not able to make that case.
According to a full report at Advocates for Faith and Freedom,
In order for the prosecution to prove that a permit was required under Title 13, Section 1860 of the California Administrative Code, it was required to prove that the defendants were engaged in a “demonstration or gathering” as defined in Section 1851. Judge Freer ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the men conducted either a “demonstration or gathering.” Both definitions require that the conduct of defendants was such that it had “the effect, intent or propensity to draw a crowd or onlookers” and the prosecution couldn’t prove that to be the case.
“The prosecution failed to meet its burden of proof that our clients committed a crime when they read the Bible aloud in front a line of people,” said AFF attorney Robert Taylor.
Interestingly, the judge also pointed out that the law prosecutors tried to invoke was likely unconstitutional as it gave law enforcement overbroad powers to quash public gatherings in the first place. Sadly, this case did not go toward settling the constitutionality of the law, but it was a victory of sorts to have the judge even mention the fact.