Saturday, August 4, 2012

Religious Freedom - #4097 - LATEST UPDATE: Michael Salman - Rutherford Institute Asks Arizona Supreme Court to Reconsider Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in Case of Phoenix Man Jailed for Home Bible Study - The Rutherford Institute

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed a motion asking the Arizona Supreme Court to reconsider a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the case of a Phoenix man who is serving a 60-day jail sentence and was fined more than $12,000 for using his private residential property to host a weekly Bible study, allegedly in violation of the city’s building codes. While the Arizona Supreme Court denied the original motion because the case had not been reviewed by the Arizona Court of Appeals or appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court, Institute attorneys point out that Arizona statutory law did not allow for these further appeals, and thus the motion for habeas corpus is appropriate. Institute attorneys are challenging the legality of Salman’s imprisonment as a violation of his First Amendment and statutory rights to religious freedom and assembly, in addition to challenging the City’s assertion that if a person holds Bible studies or other forms of religious worship at his residence, he is required to comply with all local laws relating to an actual church that is open to the public. Salman appeared in municipal court Thursday to determine if additional jail time will be added to his sentence for allegedly violating his probation by holding Bible studies after being ordered not to have more than 12 people gathered on his property at any one time. The fact sheet on the case is available here. “While Michael Salman should never have been charged with a crime for simply exercising his religious beliefs on his own property, to keep him in prison while the question of his basic rights is being considered is the ultimate injustice,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “The continued imprisonment of Michael Salman for simply worshipping God with his family and friends on his own property demonstrates the lengths to which government bureaucrats will go in service of imposing dubious regulations on average citizens.”  Read more.......

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