Quick backdrop from Our Sunday Visitor:
Passed in 1994 as a way to limit violence outside abortion clinics, the FACE [Freedom of Access to Clinics] Act has been used with greater frequency in recent years.
Since the start of President Barack Obama’s administration in 2009, the Justice Department has filed eight cases under the FACE Act, a sharp increase from the one case filed during the previous eight years.
Mary Susan Pine was one of those eight.
In August 2010 U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder filed a civil suit against Pine, accusing her of violating the FACE Act.
And on January 13, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed the case – with some interesting observations.
Pine is a post-abortive mother who has conducted sidewalk counseling at the Presidential Women’s Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, since 2001.
Pine stands at the marked exit of the mill, because the entrance is only accessible by a private road. Pine hopes to reach abortion-minded mothers who are coming in the wrong way, or perhaps service vehicles. Pine seeks to educate whoever she comes in contact with through conversation and pamphlets.
The court document states, “It is undisputed that Ms. Pine has never used obscenities or physical threats.” But she is obviously an aggravant to the mill.
On November 29, 2009, Pine was conducting sidewalk counseling as usual, coincidentally and poignantly on the anniversary of the day she had her abortion.
For an unstated reason West Palm Beach Police Officer Sanjay Raja “had positioned himself so that he could observe Ms. Pine,” according to the court document.
Raja thought he saw Pine force an incoming vehicle to stop by standing in front of it. The driver rolled down the window, and Pine handed he and his female passenger information and engaged them in conversation.
Raja approached them and told the driver to move along because he was impeding traffic. Raja never interviewed the driver, nor did he take down the license number of the vehicle.
The court document then states: “The day after the incident… representatives from the Department of Justice met with the PWC staff, Officer Raja, and another police officer to discuss the incident and determine whether Ms. Pine was in violation of FACE” and obviously decided to move forward. But meanwhile PWC destroyed any surveillance video of the incident.
In other words, the DOJ decided to prosecute Pine with no evidence.
This entire scenario not only sounded fishy to me, it sounded fishy to the court, which wrote in its opinion:
It is rather curious that the Department of Justice was able to meet with the PWC staff and police officers the very next day after the alleged violation occurred. It is also curious that the Government failed to make any efforts to obtain the identities of the passengers who are the alleged victims in this case – the Court finds it hard to believe that the Government was completely unaware of the existence of the sign-in sheets and video surveillance system.
The Court can only wonder whether this action was the product of a concerted effort between the Government and the PWC, which began well before the date of the incident at issue, to quell Ms. Pine’s activities rather than to vindicate the rights of those allegedly aggrieved by Ms. Pine’s conduct. If this is the case, the Court would be inclined to sanction the Government with, at a minimum, an adverse inference. Given the absence of further evidence substantiating the Court’s suspicions, the Court is not authorized to do so.
In dismissing the case the Court added it was “at a loss as to why the Government chose to prosecute this particular case in the first place.”
I’m not. I expect in years to come it will be revealed that the Obama DOJ sent letters to abortion clinics around the country soon after he came to office, inviting them to provide names of problem pro-lifers so it could attempt to intimidate them and chill their First Amendment rights.
Pro-lifers thank Liberty Counsel for representing Mary. And we also honor Mary for being one of those who bear the brunt of pro-abortion harassment.
Reprinted with permission from JillStanek.com