Update: Another Delay in Abortion Clinic Sprinkler Trial
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After 1 Year, 4 Judges, Pro-Life Sidewalk Counselors Sprayed Off Sidewalk Show Up for Jury Trial, But Prosecutor Fails to Show and Case is Reset Again
MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA — After months of delays and several recusals, trial scheduled October 23 for two Montgomery, Alabama, pro-life sidewalk counselors sprayed off the public sidewalk by a Montgomery abortion clinic and charged with trespass was again delayed. The prosecutor for the City of Montgomery filed a motion to continue late Friday, October 19, and then failed to show for trial due to a family health issue. Judge Charles Price, who has not ruled on the motion for speedy trial, told David Day and Jeshua Screws, represented by counsel with the Foundation for Moral Law, that the case would again be reset to a future date.
Even though the abortion clinic repeatedly turned on and off the forceful, 25-foot jet of water and used it to block the public sidewalk in violation of the city code, David Day and Jeshua Screws were arrested in June of 2011 and accused of criminal trespass when they stepped out of the way of the sprinkler jet.
As seen in the picture above, to avoid the jet of water at Reproductive Health Services, pedestrians and joggers frequently walk behind the sprinkler head and onto the clinic property and then return to the sidewalk to proceed. However, when Jeshua and David, trying to exercise freedom of speech and religion on public property, tried to avoid the water jet in the same manner as they had seen passersby frequently do, the abortion clinic owner had them arrested and the City of Montgomery is claiming they committed criminal trespass.
Ben DuPré, the Foundation attorney representing Screws and Day, said the abortion clinic cannot force pro-life advocates off the public sidewalk and then claim the pro-lifers are violating the law. “Montgomery’s abortion clinic does not have a right to wrongfully spray people off the sidewalk because they don’t like their message of saving life and finding hope in Jesus Christ, and then turn around and accuse them of trespass for avoiding the sprinkler.”
Moreover, this case has been repeatedly delayed, primarily because the judges assigned to the case recused for unknown reasons. Originally set for trial in February, then March, and then April of this past year, no fewer than three judges recused before this case was assigned to the current judge. Day and Screws have asked Judge Price to dismiss the case for failure to give them a speedy trial as required by the United States and Alabama constitutions.
DuPré noted that the sprinkler is not there to water the grass. “The abortion clinic staff routinely turn the sprinkler on and off in an attempt to hit pro-life advocates standing on the public sidewalk. They are trying to protect their cash flow by intimidating, harassing, and silencing those peacefully urging women not to give the clinic hundreds of dollars to take an innocent life.”
The Foundation for Moral Law, a national non-profit legal organization, is located in Montgomery, Alabama, and is dedicated to restoring the knowledge of God in law and government through litigation and education relating to moral issues and religious liberty cases.