Appeals Court Slams Mall That Arrested Youth Pastor

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Smartt33, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. Smartt33
    Offline

    Smartt33 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,183
    Thanks Received:
    147
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    USA
    Ratings:
    +147
    Pacific Justice Institute
    Appeals Court Slams Mall That Arrested Youth Pastor
    Sacramento, CA - The California Court of Appeal has issued a ruling sharply criticizing a shopping mall that arrested a youth pastor for sharing his faith. The unanimous decision in favor of the youth pastor was written by Justice Cantil-Sakauye, who was recently nominated to be the next Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. The youth pastor was represented by attorneys with Pacific Justice Institute.
    The case arose after a youth pastor, Matthew Snatchko, was arrested at the Roseville Galleria Mall in 2007 for striking up a casual conversation with two other shoppers about faith. Although Snatchko had first obtained the shoppers' permission to broach the subject, a nearby store employee disapproved and called mall security guards, who arrested Snatchko. Criminal charges were later dropped, but attorneys with Pacific Justice Institute filed suit to challenge the mall's tight restrictions on speech.
    Under the mall's rules, shoppers are not allowed to engage in conversations about potentially controversial topics like religion or politics, unless they already know the person they are talking to. Another mall rule bans the wearing of any clothing with religious or political messages.
    This week's ruling by the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento struck down the mall rules as unconstitutionally vague and restrictive of free speech. The court also awarded costs on appeal to Snatchko and indicated that he would be able to collect damages and attorney's fees. The case now heads back to the trial court for implementation of the appellate court's decision.
    PJI President Brad Dacus commented, "We are very pleased with this landmark ruling by the California Court of Appeal that vindicates the right to engage in casual conversations about faith without fear of being arrested. This is a great victory for free speech and common sense."
    PJI affiliate attorney Timothy Smith, of the Sacramento firm McKinley & Smith, served pro bono as Snatchko's lead counsel in the trial court and presented oral argument to the Court of Appeal.
     
  2. xotoxi
    Offline

    xotoxi Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    Messages:
    30,322
    Thanks Received:
    5,203
    Trophy Points:
    1,110
    Location:
    your mother
    Ratings:
    +5,492
    Two things about this:

    1. Does the mall receive government funding or is it privately owned? If it is the former, then the ruling is appropriate. If it is the latter, then the ruling is inappriopriate?

    2. "Under the mall's rules, shoppers are not allowed to engage in conversations about potentially controversial topics like religion or politics, unless they already know the person they are talking to." - WHAT THE FUCK? That is the stupidest rule I have ever heard!
     
  3. syrenn
    Offline

    syrenn BANNED

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Messages:
    47,839
    Thanks Received:
    10,387
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +10,403
    If some bible thumped came up to me in a mall and tried to spread the word with me...i would hope he would be ejected from the place...not so much arrested.
     
  4. lawbuff
    Offline

    lawbuff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Messages:
    439
    Thanks Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Ratings:
    +30
    The ruling, as I suspected, was based at least in part, on Pruneyard, internal citation, which went all the way to the US SC.

    http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/C059985.PDF

    MOST state constitutions forbid soliciting etc. on private property such as a mall, but a few permit it, if I remember correctly.

    As an example, the 1st AM can bind a private entity also at times, but here only the CA constitution is discussed.
     
  5. Quantum Windbag
    Offline

    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    58,308
    Thanks Received:
    5,014
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Ratings:
    +5,221
    Restrictions on speech have to be content neutral in places that are open to the public, like airports and malls. Anyone who can enter the mall should be able to discuss anything they want with anyone who is willing to listen. When I used to witness in malls, and other public venues on private property, I was always careful to ask if I could talk to the people, and I never gave them any literature, even if they asked. The line was pretty clear as far as SCOTUS rulings, even if I don't know the cases.

    The attempt of the mall to limit "controversial" speech among consenting adults is not content neutral. It discriminates against speech that is based on religion or politics, or other arbitrarily determined controversial topics, but would allow me to approach a stranger and talk about the weather, cooking, or a sale that is in one of the stores.

    California traditionally gives even more protection to people than the Constitution, which makes the initial arrest even more problematic.
     
  6. Quantum Windbag
    Offline

    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    58,308
    Thanks Received:
    5,014
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Ratings:
    +5,221
    1. I am curious why you think funding is the definitive issue here.

    2. I agree.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

youth pastor arrested at galleria mall