by Carder and Jill
UPDATE, 2/20, 7a: San Francisco Chronicle, today:
A pastor at a Berkeley church was sentenced Thursday to three years’ probation and fined $1,000 after becoming the first person convicted under an Oakland ordinance barring protesters from coming within 8 feet of anyone entering an abortion clinic.
Walter Hoye could have faced up to 2 years in jail after a jury convicted him last month of 2 misdemeanor counts of unlawfully approaching patients at the Family Planning Specialists Medical Group….
The case was an emotional one, and pro-choice and anti-abortion advocates jammed the Oakland courtroom for the sentencing hearing. Dozens of people unable to find seats filled the hallway outside….
Hoye, 52, of Union City appeared ready to accept a jail sentence, telling Judge Stuart Hing … “I believe that an unjust law is no law at all.”
Hing said Hoye was by all accounts a “decent person.” But illegal conduct is not justifiable when there are legal ways of protesting, the judge said.
Hing asked if Hoye would abide by an order requiring him to stay 100 yards away from the Oakland clinic, and the pastor said no.
The judge then imposed the stay-away order anyway, fined Hoye and sentenced him to 3 years of probation and 30 days in jail. Hoye can serve his time in a sheriff’s work detail or by volunteering.
The “medical safety zone” around abortion clinics was set by the Oakland City Council in 2007. Abortion protesters must stay at least 8 feet from women, staff or escorts entering the buildings….
Supporters of both groups crammed the hallways of the… [c]ourthouse before the hearing and at times shouted at each other as they jockeyed for a spot in the 63-seat courtroom.
The tensions continued after the hearing as one anti-abortion advocate wrestled with sheriff’s deputies as he shouted at the judge, condemning him for placing Hoye in jail, while others sang “We Shall Overcome.”
Hoye’s case, a misdemeanor charge, has garnered national attention from anti-abortion supporters, many of whom traveled from as far as Dallas to speak in support of the pastor, who they said was having his First Amendment rights taken away.
Hing also said he received stacks of letters in support of Hoye….
If Hoye is found approaching women at the clinic in the future, he would be in violation of his probation and could face additional time in jail.
Meanwhile, the Life Legal Defense Foundation is challenging the city’s law in federal court.
California Catholic Daily carries another good story. Photo of Hing is courtesy of CCD.
Here’s a a short YouTube clip of an interview conducted by Life Report with Pastor Hoye a few months ago, wherein he explains why he got involved in the pro-life movement…
2/16, 9:50a: The sign said, “Jesus loves you and your baby. Can we help?” It was held by Rev. Walter Hoye, who on May 13, 2008, was arrested for doing what he does a lot – standing in front of the Oakland, CA, Family Planning Specialists abortion mill offering leaflets with abortion alternatives information and holding that sign….
Only Oakland passed a “bubble law” to stop Hoye and other pro-lifers from exercising their free speech. So while Hoye has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Oakland’s law, he has meanwhile been found guilty of 2 counts of unlawful approach. Hoye’s sentencing is scheduled for Febraury 19. He faces up to 2 years in jail and a $4,000 fine.
That Hoye received this verdict is even more ridiculous when knowing pro-lifers secretly videotaped the supposed incident, and the tape shows quite the opposite of what mill workers testified – under oath.
According to CA Catholic mill director Jackie Barbic testified:
[She] told the jury she came downstairs with a tape measure and told Hoye to back away from patients, staff and escorts. Barbic testified that Hoye then came very close to her, stared at her and made her and two escorts feel very threatened and intimidated.
“… Barbic… [said] Walter walked up to within a couple of feet of her, and she had to back away from him,” said [Katie] Short [Hoye defense attorney from Life Legal Defense Foundation]. “Her voice actually choked with emotion as she recounted how frightened she had been. She didn’t know that Walter had someone videotaping him that day. So on cross-examination, we showed her the videotape of the incident, showing her approaching Walter, and him not moving an inch toward her.
“Up until then, she had detailed everything that happened at the clinic that morning. But when she saw the tape that debunked her story, she said, ‘Oh! I just remembered that there was another time later in the day when I was downstairs that he approached me.’ We have videotape of Walter from when he arrived to when he left.”
Here’s another video clip from the day, which begs the question: Who was harrassing whom? It shows deathscorts stalking pro-lifers and holding their pro-abortion signs in front of the pro-life signs.