"Watching in the court, two hours of debate yesterday between the city prosecutor, the judge and the defendants' attorney, it is crystal clear that the city of Dearborn has no case whatsoever and is only doing this to attack free speech of Christians."
He also commented in an article by the Detroit News:
"It seems to me they are trying to silence Christians -- not the citizens of Dearborn, some officials . . . There's nothing that warrants this persecution by the city of Dearborn."
It's nice to know that some Michigan lawmakers are paying attention to what's happening in Dearborn.
Doug Vos of the Dearborn Free Press was also at our hearing. He wrote a good editorial:
Monday morning, at the 19th District Court in Dearborn, Judge Mark Somers deliberated over a pre-trial hearing concerning an incident which occurred at Dearborn’s 15th annual Arab International Festival on Friday, June 14th. As previously reported in the Dearborn Free Press, several people affiliated with the Acts 17 Apologetics group were arraigned on July 12th, on charges of “breach of peace”. The four Christians, David Wood (a 34 year old former atheist) from Bronx, New York, Dr. Nabeel Qureshi (a 29 year old former Muslim) from Virginia, Nageen Mayel (a recent convert from Islam to Christianity), and Paul Rezkalla (18) from New York were charged with “breach of peace” or disturbing the peace. However, 18-year-old Nageen Mayel, who was operating a video camera on the night of June 14th, was also charged with “refusing to obey a police officer’s order to stop video taping”. (It was not clear at first if police intended to arrest Ms. Mayel, or just investigate her.)
The defendant’s attorney, Robert Muise of the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), filed a Motion for a Bill of Particulars (in an attempt to clarify the specific charges) with the City of Dearborn on July 27. On August 3rd, Judge Somers converted the Motion for a Bill of Particulars into a Motion to Dismiss, giving the City of Dearborn 14 days to respond.
During the pre-trial on August 30, Judge Somers reviewed arguments from both sides and asked the attorneys for clarification on some issues, postponing any decision until he receives the additional information. Judge Somers stated that he had reviewed most of the 6 hours of video tape, and asked questions about the chronology of events. Somers indicated that in the video tapes he had reviewed, the dialogue of Dr. Qureshi was “very civil and polite”. He also requested better audio recordings of the Nageen Mayel arrest, perhaps to resolve confusion regarding the criminal complaint about Ms. Mayel. Judge Somers also requested that Assistant City Attorney William M. Debiasi provide citations for several cases that were referenced as being pertinent to this case. If the case goes to trial it would most likely begin on Monday, Sept. 20, 2010. Read More.
The Christian Post also wrote a good piece on our hearing:
A district court judge in Michigan declined to dismiss a case against four street preachers who were arrested back in June after engaging in conversations with attendees of a large Arab festival.
Judge Marks Somers of 19th District Court in Dearborn heard arguments for two hours on Monday and said he needed clarification on some issues that had been raised before deciding whether or not to drop the charges against Negeen Mayel, Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, Paul Rezkalla, and David Wood.
Defense attorney Robert Muise, senior trial counsel with the Thomas More Law Center, argued in court that the group did nothing wrong and that their arrest violates their constitutional rights of freedom of speech and religion.
"My clients should not stand trial for exercising their First Amendment rights," Muise said. Read More.