This is really a landmark trial for many reasons, one of course being the right for anyone to hand out material on any given street corner in the US and not be harassed, let alone, being arrested for it. The Dearborn Four who were arrested in July for handing out Christian material to passers-by on a city public sidewalk adjacent from an Arab festival.
Here’s the video of their attempt at proselytizing (read = exercising free speech) on a public sidewalk:
Four Christian missionaries arrested in June at the Dearborn Arab International Festival are heading to trial today after a judge denied a motion to dismiss the case.
Attorneys for the evangelists, who are part of a group known as “Act 17 Apologetics,” say their clients were attempting to engage Muslims in a dialogue about their faith.
But critics argue the suspects hoped to cause a scene at the festival, and Dearborn Police Chief Ron Haddad explained they were arrested for disorderly conduct to ensure they did not provoke violence from other attendees.
Defense attorney Robert Muise of the Ann Arbor-based Thomas More Law Center sought to dismiss the case on the grounds the arrests were unconstitutional — an argument law professors say has merit — but the Detroit Free Press reports 19th District Court Judge Mark Somers on Friday denied the request.
“I think the evidence will show they did absolutely nothing wrong,” Muise told the newspaper, explaining he’s confident his clients will prevail at trial.
Here state Republican Rep. Tom McMillin demands the dropping of all charges against the four men.
Michigan House Republicans: State Rep. Tom McMillin today made a procedural move to try to get action on a resolution regarding the case of four Christians who were arrested at the Arab Festival in Dearborn for discussing religion with attendees.
McMillin introduced the measure in July condemning the City of Dearborn’s assault on freedom of speech and calling on the attorney general’s office to investigate the incident, but the House of Representatives has not considered it.
The four are currently standing trial in Dearborn after being arrested for disorderly conduct.
“These four Christians were exercising their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech on public property and they were arrested for doing so,” said McMillin, R-Rochester Hills. “Having attended a couple of the pre-trial hearings, it’s clear to me that this has more to do with persecution of Christians than anything else.”
Today, McMillin submitted a formal notice to discharge House Resolution 313 from the House Judiciary Committee.