ACLA SCORES WIN IN OKLAHOMA
Fairfield, NJ – August 18, 2016 - In an opinion issued yesterday, the Court of Criminal Appeals of the State Oklahoma reversed the convictions of veteran pro-life activist Joan Andrews Bell following her unlawful arrest for kneeling and praying the Rosary at the Oklahoma City Civic Center on September 21, 2014 during a "Black Mass" being held inside the building.
The Court's 18-page opinion systematically dismantles the prosecution's groundless criminal complaints against Mrs. Bell for "disorderly conduct", based on alleged "obstruction" of access to the Civic Center, and "Interfering or Obstructing by Disobeying a Lawful Command" by allegedly not cooperating in her unlawful arrest.
The Court accepted ACLA's arguments that there was insufficient evidence to support either charge, that Mrs. Bell's arrest (originally for "trespass" but later amended to "disorderly conduct") was unlawful, and that she had a right passively to resist her unlawful arrest by going limp momentarily but otherwise offering no significant impediment to the arrest. "The City has failed to show that Bell obstructed access to the Civic Center, and we find there was insufficient evidence to support the charged offense," the Court concluded. Further, the Court found, "Bell reasonably resisted officers during an unlawful arrest for the City's unsupported trespass charge," the arrest having occurred on public rather than private property.
"This is an important victory for the rights of Catholics in America, faced with a rising tide of anti-Catholic hatred, in this case officially sanctioned by the City of Oklahoma City," said ACLA President and Chief Counsel Christopher A. Ferrara following the decision. "Congratulations are in order to ACLA Oklahoma affiliate counsel Professor Brian McCall and local counsel Matt Kane," Ferrara added. "ACLA attorneys are now reviewing the options, including a federal civil rights law suit on Mrs Bell's behalf. The gross violation of civil and constitutional rights in this case must never happen again in Oklahoma City."
AMERICAN CATHOLIC LAWYERS ASSOCIATION is a federally tax-exempt religious organization dedicated to the defense of the rights of Catholics in America. To support the work of ACLA with a tax-deductible gift, donate here.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
MAJOR WIN: APPEALS COURT TOSSES CONVICTIONS OF JOAN ANDREWS BELL IN "BLACK MASS" PROTEST CASEWritten by Christopher A. Ferrara, President and Chief Counsel
Pro-lifer, Joan Andrews, arrested after refusing to leave the entrance to the “black mass” at Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City
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