Pastor Joey Faust and Ramon Marroquin were represented by attorney Shelby Sharpe (May 14, 2013), in Tarrant Country Criminal Court (Fort Worth, Texas), in affiliation with the Rutherford Institute. He is known for the landmark Texas case affirming the right to homeschool. Faust and Marroquin were charged with interfering with police duties for crossing a police "scrimmage" line at a 2012, Fort Worth Gay Pride parade.
The police were permitting other citizens to cross the street, but members of Kingdom Baptist were prohibited from continuing down the sidewalk. Faust and Marroquin disobeyed police orders and crossed the street because they did not believe the police had the Constitutional right to prohibit them, while allowing other Christians, etc., to cross.
During the bench trial, the state placed the two arresting officers on the witness stand (one was a lesbian). They stated that Faust and Marroquin were arrested for crossing the street without permission, and that the reason they were profiled was based upon their alleged, inflammatory signs and language. The state argued that the police had a right to stop members of this church in order to insure safety and prevent riot. The police argued that they used words such as "lesbian" and "fag." Pastor Joey Faust told his attorney that the word "fag" was never used by any members of his church. It was also alleged that members of this church shouted that they hoped homosexuals get killed in a car wreck. This was also never proven in court (and Faust and Marroquin maintained that they would never use such language).
In cross-examination, the defense attorney asked if the word "lesbian" was a profane word. The officer stated that it could be. The officer then stated that Faust told him that he should wear a bow or ribbon in his hair, if he would pervert the Constitution to take orders from lesbians and promote the homosexual agenda! Attorney Sharpe then asked him if he thought this was unlawful speech, and the officer stated that he thought it was.
The state played audio excerpts from a sermon by Pastor Faust showing that Faust freely admitted crossing the police line. They also showed video recordings of Faust and Marroquin attempting to cross the public street with other pedestrians, who were permitted to do so. Attorney Sharpe drew statements from the officers showing that they profiled the church group for religious reasons which they viewed as inflammatory. The officers admitted that Faust and Marroquin had not been observed causing any illegal troubles. They admitted that the whole reason they were stopped was to avoid any trouble that they "might" cause.
After the state rested, attorney Sharpe made some motions showing a list of court cases (including Supreme Court cases), proving that the actions of the police were illegal. He even showed one case, where some white supremacists had caused riot the night before, and police had hindered their speech the next day to prevent any other crimes.
The court found that it was against the law to hinder their speech based on the chance that a crime "might" be committed in the future. The attorney showed that Faust and Marroquin could not be heard by the main homosexual gathering when they were kept blocks away.
The judge denied the motions. He said that he did not want a "police state," but that there must be "order." He said he disagreed with the manner in which Faust and Marroquin were "spreading the Word." He found them "guilty." However, thankfully, he gave them only two days jail time, but said this time was already served upon their arrest. He then gave them a $250 fine, plus court costs. In other words, while pleasing the state in finding them guilty, he gave them the least possible punishment! This enables the appeal to go to higher court, where it is hoped that a proper decision will have more influence. The attorney is also in the process of filing a civil rights lawsuit.
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