Newsletter Archive: Court Case Against Street Preacher Dropped – 7/12/2005

For many years, the newsletters for Open Air Outreach were only published through email. Those newsletters were not posted online. We are now in the process of archiving these old newsletters online so that they are available to the body of Christ at large to read and be encouraged and edified by them.

The contents from this post was an email newsletter sent out on 7/12/2005

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Victory! Courthouse Bluff
July 11, 2005
Presented by:

After this past court case on Friday in Tyler I was not looking forward to going to today’s court case in Dallas. Less was at risk for this trial; only money, no jail time (not counting our free speech right”. It was for a situation which occurred over 6 months ago, when preaching outside of a club. 11 police officers showed up and gave me a fine for “drawing a crowd”. Then in a letter they sent it said it was for “religious solicitation without proof of ID” but today in court they claimed it was for “violating an anti-noise ordinance”. But of course in a loud club district, it’s absurd to say I was violating this ordinance, since I probably would not be heard even 20 feet away.

When an officer issues a fine and the person requests a trial, the officer must appear to testify as a witness or the prosecution has no case. The officers all had until 9:45am to make their appearance. As all the court cases were being read out loud by the judge, the prosecutor would declared whether the case was going to be dismissed or if they were ready, based on if the officers have shown up. I waited in anticipating that my case would be thrown out. It had been so long since the actual event; surely the officer wasn’t going to show up in trial, will he? The Judge said “The State of Texas vs. Jesse Morrell” and the prosecutor responded with “State Ready”.

Patrick Cryer, my defense attorney, pulled me out into the hall to discuss how the trial process was going to go. We would have a chance to question the potential jurors, specifically what their thoughts were of street preachers, and the prosecution would also have their chance. The officer would testify, I would testify, and it would go on from there. The “anti noise ordinance” clearly states that before a fine can be issued, an order to leave the area must be given by the officer. No such “order” was ever given to me, and thus was our case.

My attorney explained: “The prosecution has offered once last plea bargain. We don’t have to go to trial if you want to pay $100 fine, and be put on probation.” I responded with “NO WAY!” to which my lawyer said “Yea, I didn’t think you’d be interested. I’ll go tell the prosecution.” My attorney returned after speaking to them with a smile on his face and a paper slip in his hand. “They’ve dismissed the case. They decided to back out of taking this to trial.” He explained that it was dismissed on the bases of “insufficient evidence.” Thank God I didn’t take the plea bargain because it was all one big courthouse bluff!

Months ago, when I received the citation on the street, the officer confiscated my $250 Fender P-10 portable speaker and I haven’t had it since! When I went to retrieve it from the police station I was unable to do so because I had no papers. They suggested that I hunt down this single officer some how in the city of Dallas to try to get papers. Dallas City Ordinance states that if an officer confiscates an object, they must issue a “receipt” in order for you to pick it up. If they fail to do so, it’s considered theft. I was never issued such a receipt and thus have not been able to get back my portable speaker. My attorney is now working on getting a court issued order for me to get my sound box back!

I have felt as though I’ve been shackled with three chains; one on my right wrist (Dallas court case), one on my left wrist (the other Dallas case), and one around my neck (The Tyler case). Now one chain has released its chilling grasp and I feel I have hope once again. One court case conquered and two more to go. Thank you for your prayers!

For the Audience of One
Jesse Morrell – Taking the Gospel where it belongs



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