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13 November 2011

1ST AMENDMENT UNDER FIRE Judge says people can't be jailed over intended speech Pastor who wanted to condemn Shariah behind bars over 'peace bond'

100905terryjones.jpgThe Florida pastor who wanted to protest jihad and Islamic Shariah law in Dearborn – but was jailed by a judge who worried about what he "intended" to say – has been cleared.

According to officials with the Thomas More Law Center, a circuit judge in Wayne County, Mich., has overturned the decision by Dearborn District Judge Mark W. Somers.

According to the ruling from Wayne County Circuit Judge Robert Ziolowski, Somers violated the constitutional rights of Pastor Terry Jones and his associate, Wayne Sapp, when he held a "peace bond" proceeding last spring and ordered them to pay a $1 peace bond and ordered them not to go into the vicinity of a Muslim mosque, including on the surrounding public property, for three years.

Because the "bond" violated their constitutional free speech rights, they refused to pay, and the judge locked them up overnight.

Somers had required the bond because of what he thought the men intended to say

But the Thomas More Law Center appealed the verdict, and the decision was overturned.

"Pastor Jones had committed no crime and was not charged with a crime. Yet, he was forced into court and ultimately jailed because he intended to speak out against jihad and Shariah law," said Richard Thompson, chief counsel for the center.

"Regardless of how one feels about Pastor Jones, he has a constitutionally protected free speech right to express his message. The heavy-handed actions of the city of Dearborn and the Wayne County prosecutor's office give us a glimpse of how imposition of Shariah law, which forbids any criticism of Islam, will destroy that fundamental constitutional right."

It was in April when Jones, of the Dove World Outreach Center of Gainesville, Fla., announced plans to protest jihad, Shariah and the radicalization of Muslims in America on public property in front of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn. It's the largest mosque in North America.

Dearborn officials, who have a history of anti-Christian policies, denied Jones a permit to exercise his free speech rights because of opposition and threats of violence from Dearborn's Muslims, the law center reported.

When Jones indicated that he intended to hold the free speech event anyway, the Wayne County prosecutor, in cooperation with the city of Dearborn, filed a complaint in the Dearborn district court. Under threat of arrest, police authorities forced Jones and Sapp into court where they had to stand trial to determine whether they intended to break the law.

The Thomas More Law Center said those actions violated the First Amendment and due process rights of Jones and Sapp.

The Law Center also argued that the three-year speech restriction violated the First Amendment.

In yesterday’s ruling, in addition to finding a violation of due process, Ziolowski overturned on First Amendment grounds the district court's three-year injunction limiting Jones' free speech rights by keeping him away from the mosque.

Read more: Judge says people can't be jailed over <I>intended</i> speech http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=366989#ixzz1dbTQK7Ey

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