The Thomas More Society has just announced great news:
This afternoon, in a wake of national interest in the case, TMS secured a dismissal of all charges against the first arrestee under the city’s “bubble zone” ordinance, which prevents certain types of picketing activity outside local abortion clinics….
Joseph Holland, a Northwestern University graduate student, was arrested outside Planned Parenthood’s Near North Side facility on July 3 after the facility’s staff called the police and claimed he violated the ordinance by praying on the public sidewalk.
The “national interest” came yesterday in a Fox News story and opinion poll (which is still live) and this morning when Fox & Friends’ Gretchen Carlson interviewed TMS attorney ( and my friend!) Peter Breen and Holland, who were both fabulous:
I spoke with Peter who told me the city’s corporate counsel asked the judge for a moment to confer with 3 Planned Parenthood reps present and returned to say the City was dropping all charges. So neither the City nor Peter ever saw PP’s surveillance video that TMS subpoenaed. Meanwhile, TMS has had a video of the supposed altercation on YouTube for a week:
As to why the police arrested Holland and not the man holding the “Men Regret Lost Fatherhood” sign, the backstory is the female PP deathscort you see in the above video was ticked at Holland because when she stepped away from her usual sentry post, he stepped into it, which I think is so funny. It’s a public sidewalk after all.
Peter mentioned to Carlson that TMS does think Chicago’s bubble zone law is unconstitutional but had not previously sued because no one had been arrested. I asked Peter if now TMS was going to sue.
Peter responded that as a general rule one does not proceed with a civil case when a criminal case is pending. And TMS is representing a 2nd pro-lifer Chicago police arrested the same week as Holland, David Avignone, and that case has not yet been resolved. Avignone’s 1st court appearance will be August 30.