Skip to comments.Trial Set To Begin For Church Members Arrested While Reading Bible At DMV
Posted on 08/05/2013 1:56:24 PM PDT by BenLurkin
RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) Two Hemet church members who were arrested while reading the Bible outside a DMV office were expected to be in court when their trial begins Monday.
Brett Anthony Coronado, 42, of Reconciled Christian Fellowship in Hemet, and Mark Allen Mackey, 59, a Calvary Chapel Hemet church elder, visited the DMV at 1200 S. State Street on Feb. 2, 2011, before business hours and began to read passages from the Bible.
After a security guard approached Mackey and instructed him to leave the premises, the men continued reading, claiming their First Amendment rights protected their actions and that they were not interfering with any DMV business.
A video posted on YouTube shows the men were arrested shortly after that by California High Officer Darrin Meyer, who eventually cited them for impeding an open business.
Another member of the ministry, Edmond Flores, was also taken into custody, but was not charged.
Attorneys for the men argued that the penal code under which Coronado and Mackey were arrested is meant to protect businesses from protesters who intimidate patrons and block entrances, and since the DMV was not yet open at the time the men were reading, the citation had no merit.
We believe that these men were exercising their First Amendment right of Free Speech, attorney Robert Tyler with Advocates for Faith & Freedom. These men were simply sharing their faith on public property, and we will defend their constitutional right to do so.
According to attorneys, Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach later decided to charge the men with misdemeanor trespassing on state property.
Coronado, Mackey and Flores filed a civil liberties lawsuit in April 2011 alleging Meyer, and by extension the CHP, had violated their First, Fourth and 14th amendment rights, as well as violated the liberty clause of the California Constitution.
But U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee suspended further hearings on the lawsuit in September 2011 until the criminal case against Coronado and Mackey was resolved.
If convicted, Coronado and Mackey face up to 90 days in jail, or by a fine of up to $400, or both.
Reading the Bible is a crime.
Reading to themselves or reading aloud? While it’s legal either way, seems to be a vital part of this story that’s missing.
Proof readers needed at CBSLA.
“...arrested shortly after that by California High Officer Darrin Meyer...”
Does that mean he is happy to be in California, high, maybe both, or works at a high school???
As long as they are not blocking the entrance or forcibly making people listen to them, reading quietly or aloud is moot.
I don’t know if these guys are legally guilty, but they’re jerks.
I’m always a little careful to jump to conclusions on stories like this. It is “red meat” for us conservatives that an old man was arrested for reading a Bible, or even reading it out loud. However, the Westboro Baptist Church reads Bible passages out loud too and they get arrested for disorderly conduct and no one would disagree that they should be arrested. I’m not saying that’s the case here but many times people get too loud or disrupt people going in and out.
The law is applied VERY strictly when a Christian is accused of something. But when the administration’s favorite middle eastern cult is involved, the perps are set free immediately.
I always pray when approaching the DMV building.
How does the DMV classify as a ‘business’?
Assuming the place wasn't yet open and the security would have asked anyone there at that time to leave, then that would be trespassing. BUT - those are two big assumptions.
Now if they had the courtesy and good taste to stage a gay or transgender rights protest outside the DMV things would be different.
They would be rewarded for their long suffering courage.
Especially if disconcerting images were displayed to innocent minors.
They should say they are new black panther and snap all will be ok
Yeah, my beef was with the crappy reporting. Seems common these days...
It’s in the business of extortion.
With the usual wait time at DMVs I don’t want to hear anyone droning on by reading aloud anymore than I want to sit there and wait with one or more screaming babies around me.
I don’t care what they read in a public place as long as I don’t have to hear the narration. If I want to read the bible, or anything else it is my choosing and not there. The ordinary conversations among the denizens are mind numbing enough.
If they were reading out loud it was probably to prosletyze which I do object to in a public place regardless of who it comes from. If you try this ploy where it is not appropriate then all you do is drive people away from your words and make them non-receptive. That approach is propagandizing and not prosletyzing.
That headline is totally misleading and omits the several events before this.
He was warned and the cop had several prior engagements with individual who not only wanted to press the boundaries of the law but, was harassing the people going into DMV.
No reason to get upset at this story. That’s this guy’s schtick and gives him relevancy for his life and is validated by being arrested.
Impeding an open business that was closed and “trespassing” on public property....
try opening a business that has a sign that it caters to Muslims only
they’ll probably leave you alone
“Reading” should be replaced with “reciting.”
This is from 2011.
No news of outcomes since then?????????
This is from 2011.
No news of outcomes since then?????????
You can get answers to your questions by going to the video in the link. He was reading in a loud voice so that those waiting for the license office to open would hear him. He was arrested for proselytizing to a captive audience.
If they were pro-abortion or pro-ObamaCare activists they would not have been arrested.
August 5, 2013 11:48 AM
RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) “Two Hemet church members who were arrested while reading the Bible outside a DMV office were expected to be in court when their trial begins Monday.”
There’s a whole body of case law concerning “free speech fora.” If he’d been on the sidewalk, there wouldn’t have been a problem, but to be on the grounds of a government facility doing this is no different than if they’d come into a store, a courtroom, or your home and done this.
Would that cop have arrested him had he read from the Koran?
More likely to have arrested whoever complained about the guy reading the Koran.
To be on the grounds of a government facility is not trespassing, which is what these men are being charged with, especially considering there were customers lined up waiting for the DMV to open who were not charged.
But I doubt that reading the Koran in public is.
It was getting a little out of hand. A patron said “I got in line right when they started reading the first chapter of Genesis. They were half way through Leviticus by the time I got service.”
It's the same as if they had come onto the property of a store to proselytize. If they refused to leave, they could be arrested for trespassing while customers of the store were not.
I don’t think so. For instance, you always run into people begging for money or asking you to sign petitions outside grocery stores. The stores would love to have those people arrested for trespassing and kicked out, but they can’t. Same situation here.
Sounds like they arrested the wrong people. That is about a five hour wait.
There you start to get into the weeds of case by case opinions, the “reasonableness” of their restrictions, the willingness of stores to stir up the ire of activists of whatever stripe vs the inconvenience to their patrons, and the willingness of police to get involved. There’s a large body of federal case law on this, and there are state level laws as well. But as for a government facility like this DMV, there’s a case called US v Kokinda about post offices that is pretty on point.
US v Kokinda had to do with violation of a Federal statute, 39 CFR 232.1(h)(1)(1989), which prohibits “soliciting alms and contributions ... on postal premises.” This was on state (not federal) land, and there was no solicitation involved. Plus, they are not charged with solicitation, only trespassing. The men were outside, standing in a planter area, not impeding/obstructing anyone. How do you get a trespass conviction out of that, when there were others on the property at the same time?
Sorry, I should have said I was joking—making fun of the DMV.
The article said they were 'sharing their faith' so that seems to imply they were reading out loud.
Would you be OK if they were reading the Koran out loud instead of the Bible?
Except as provided in subdivision (u), subdivision (v), subdivision (x), and Section 602.8, every person who willfully commits a trespass by any of the following acts is guilty of a misdemeanor:
Subdivision (q) states:
Refusing or failing to leave a public building of a public agency during those hours of the day or night when the building is regularly closed to the public upon being requested to do so by a regularly employed guard, watchman, or custodian of the public agency owning or maintaining the building or property, if the surrounding circumstances would indicate to a reasonable person that the person has no apparent lawful business to pursue.
My guess is the State will argue that the DMV building includes the planter area where the defendants were standing, and that since they were preaching (had no apparent business to pursue) during regularly closed hours and refused to leave when asked by the CHP officer, then they are guilty of misdemeanor trespass.
The hurdles will be convincing the judge that 1) the planter area is part of the building, and 2) the CHP officer is a "regularly employed guard, watchman or custodian of the public agency owning or maintaining the building or property." I can see that approach possibly succeeding with the judge. The irony is that if they had been preaching during normal business hours, or if, for instance, they were going to renew their registration that day (and thus had lawful business to pursue), they could not be convicted of trespass!
I just noticed that the news article says the defendants were first asked to leave by a DMV security guard before the CHP got involved. I think they’re toast.
They’re set free immediately? Wow. Please share some links with examples of this outrageous practice for readers here at FreeRepublic.
You should go over there and read the Koran out loud to those waiting in line, then report back here as to what happened next.