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Legal News from Buffalo Rochester

May 3, 2000

Court Update From Recue Rochester

Last Spring prior to Operation Save America Jerry Crawford and I along with 62 other defendants and ministries were named in a FACE lawsuit brought through the office of the NYS Attorney General. This action was so ridiculous and over broad that it named pro-life Christian grandparents, ministers, a quadriplegic and a dead man as dangerous and intimidating .

A Temporary Restraining Order which has a legal life of 10-20 days was issued (over a year ago) for OSA and has been given extended life while these proceedings continue. This order moves all pro-life Christians away from area abortion clinics, driveways, and sidewalk entrances. This makes it next to impossible to hand out sidewalk counseling materials or address patients entering these clinics. The Judge has decreed that this order to actually be a Preliminary Injunction without allowing us due process. This order, if he has his way, will remain in force during the current preliminary hearing which started almost a year ago. It will remain in force during the Permanent Injunction Trial, which will take over a year. It will remain in force during the appeal, which the judge has said we will have to do even though he has yet to issue his ruling or heard all our arguments. The appeal will take another year. Then the FACE (Freedom to Clinics Entrance Act) Trial will begin naming all defendants who have not taken the state’s deal. That deal was to agree to the TRO and not to litigate and to stay away from these clinics. FACE was put in place by the feds and now NYS under the guise of stopping violence. These laws are now being used to squash any First Amendment rights of Pro-life Christians. We believe that this is wrong!

Psalm 82:1-5 “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah. Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked. They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.”

Jerry Crawford and I have continued doing what God has called us to do at Genesee Hospital since the late 80’s. That is to expose the unfruitful works of darkness at this hospital by holding signs, praying, preaching and leafleting. On May 18th and May 22nd, over the 20-day limit to any TRO, we are charged with violating the judge’s order. On July 13th at Planned Parenthood we were charged with violating the judge’s order by standing in the bubble zone and holding signs and praying. All these events occurred on a public sidewalk. Criminal Contempt proceedings have started and for each alleged violation we could, if found guilty, be placed in jail for up to a year. The judge has also said that he will allow them to go after us civilly after this criminal proceeding.

We have a legal case. But most of all we have a moral and spiritual ground on which to stand. We return to court on May 10th for Preliminary Decisions. We will make some motions and look to set up a trial schedule. The trial will be sometime early this summer. These proceedings are extremely rare, and it seems they are being used because of what we believe not because of what we did.

Psalm 94:20 “Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law? They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge. And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.”

Mike Warren