Court Rules in Favor of Evangelist Charged with Trespassing on Public Sidewalk
A district court in Maryland has ruled in favor of an evangelist who was charged with criminal trespass on a public sidewalk reports Christian News.
In 2012, Michael Corral was distributing Christian literature and reading from the Bible in front of a movie theater in Silver Spring, Maryland. Corral was stopped by a security guard who informed him that the sidewalk where he was standing was private property belonging to the theater.
A policeman arrived at the scene and suggested that Corral relocate to the other side of the street to continue his religious expression. When Corral refused, the officer ticketed him with criminal trespass. The evangelist was also banned from the area for a period of one year.
The Center for Religious Expression (CRE) represented Corral’s case, taking it to the Montgomery County district court. The court decided that Corral’s right to religious expression had been violated. In addition, the sidewalk was not owned by the movie theater.
“We’re thankful for this excellent result...The freedom to express views on a public sidewalks is an essential aspect of our constitutional guarantees and no business has any business taking those rights away.,” CRE chief counsel Nate Kellum said.
Publication date: May 1, 2014