Foundation Asks US Supreme Court to Review Evangelist’s Arrest While Preaching in Salem, Mass.

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Jul 1, 2010 No Comments ›› Site Administrator

Foundation Asks US Supreme Court to Review Evangelist’s Arrest While Preaching in Salem, Mass.

Press Release

Evangelist Michael Marcavage of Repent America (http://www NULL.repentamerica NULL.com/), through his attorneys at the Foundation for Moral Law (http://www NULL.morallaw NULL.org/), a religious liberties legal organization led by Judge Roy Moore, filed a petition for certiorari review (http://www NULL.morallaw NULL.org/PDF/Cert%20petition,%20Marcavage%20v NULL.%20Mass NULL.,%20with%20appendix NULL.pdf) in the U.S. Supreme Court today, urging the Court to review his “disorderly conduct” conviction for peacefully preaching the gospel with a megaphone in Salem, Mass. on Halloween night 2007. As the Foundation argued in the lower courts, Marcavage’s petition explains that he had a right under the Salem city code to preach the gospel with a megaphone until 10:00 p.m., but that Salem police confiscated his megaphone and arrested him at 8:30 p.m. that night.  (See the video of his arrest here. (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=eYuaOenys60))

Click here to read Marcavage’s petition to the Supreme Court. (http://www NULL.morallaw NULL.org/PDF/Cert%20petition,%20Marcavage%20v NULL.%20Mass NULL.,%20with%20appendix NULL.pdf)

Attorney Ben DuPré of the Foundation for Moral Law stated, “The Salem police clearly overstepped their authority when they grabbed Michael Marcavage’s megaphone.  He was peacefully preaching the Christian gospel to a crowd that needed to hear it, even if they did not like it.”  Although the Massachusetts courts have insisted the police were just trying to prevent any potential safety risk, DuPré said that the Supreme Court’s free speech cases don’t allow that excuse: “The Supreme Court has rejected the so-called heckler’s veto as a reason to silence a speaker.  In this case, there was only an imaginary or future heckler, not a real one.  So we believe the Court will seriously consider granting review of this case and righting the constitutional wrongs Michael suffered in Salem.”

Marcavage argues in his petition that the police censorship was a violation of his constitutional rights to free speech, free exercise of religion, and equal protections of the laws.  He also argues that his right to due process of law was violated because the trial court found him guilty for the confiscation of the megaphone even though the prosecutor never argued that the confiscation was the basis for the charge; rather, the prosecutor focused on Marcavage’s evangelism conduct earlier in the evening.

Marcavage’s conviction was affirmed by the Massachusetts Appeals Court on Dec. 23, 2009, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declined to hear the case on March 31, 2010. (Read Marcavage’s appellate brief filed in the Mass. Appeals Court here.)

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