WHITE PLAINS, New York (LifeSiteNews) — Quick legal thinking saved three Red Rose Rescuers from extra time in jail last week.
On February 2, Judge John Collins of White Plains City Court (New York) sought to arrest and imprison Red Rose Rescuers Fr. Fidelis Moscinski, CFR, Matthew Connolly, and Will Goodman for their continued refusal to pay any pro-abortion fines.
Last summer, Collins sentenced these rescuers to 90 days in county jail, which they served, and a $500 fine plus costs. The fines and jail time he imposed were the maximum allowed by law, clear evidence of the court’s political vendetta against non-violent pro-lifers offering pregnant mothers roses and assistance.
As Matthew Connolly took the stand in front of a handful of pro-life supporters, he remained in total silent solidarity with the preborn while the judge questioned him and demanded a verbal response. He remained silent. Speaking on his behalf, defense attorney Steve Anduze, Esq., explained to the court that Matthew was indigent and unable to pay the fine, but that even if he had the money, he would not pay.
“However, the court may not imprison the defendants since the fines could be held for judgement as a civil matter, not a criminal matter,” Anduze argued.
Meanwhile, the police officers in the courtroom had put on their black gloves and were descending upon Matthew in preparation to take him into their custody. But before they could, the judge ordered an indigency hearing on March 2nd to determine his financial standing.
Therefore, Matthew was not arrested.
Next up before the court was Fr. Fidelis, who did not wish to have a hearing on his indigency status. Thus, Collins said he’d be placed under immediate arrest for his refusal to pay his fine. At this point the police officers handcuffed the Franciscan priest.
RELATED: Priest, pro-lifers sentenced to three months in jail for counseling women inside abortion center
UPDATE (03/07/23): Walgreens won't dispense abortion pills in 20 states
The pressure is paying off. Walgreens' plan to dispense abortion pills nationwide is now in tatters, with the pharmaceutical giant announcing that it won't mail the pills to, or sell them within, 20 states.
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CVS & Walgreens announce plans to dispense abortion pills after Biden FDA loosens restrictions
READ: Priest jailed for pro-life counseling says ‘only Christ-like actions’ will change hearts on abortion
Anduze countered by arguing that the court has no legal basis or procedural right for imprisoning Fr. Fidelis since he had already served the maximum jail sentence.
“All three defendants served their 90 days in Westchester County Jail,” Anduze argued. “They were incarcerated for 60 days and received their 30 days off for ‘good time’ per New York state law. That is their good time that they earned. The prosecutor is not allowed to pocket this time and use it against them.”
Judge Collins seemed surprised and asked the prosecutor to respond to Anduze’s legal argument. The prosecuting attorney also seemed stunned and simply said that the judge was correct in seeking the re-arrest of the defendants.
Collins then ordered both attorneys to submit their written legal briefs to the court on this matter as to whether defendants may be re-arrested and sent to jail beyond the statutory limit.
At this point, the cuffs were removed from Fr. Fidelis, and the police closed the door leading from the courtroom to the courthouse jail.
The judge then said that Will Goodman, along with Fr. Fidelis and Matthew Connolly, must return to court on March 2nd for oral arguments and a final decision of the court on the written briefs. On this date, Will and Matthew will also have their indigency hearings, too.
“We are thankful for the excellent legal representation we have received from Steve today,” said Goodman after leaving the courtroom. “His efforts on behalf of authentic justice are appreciated by all who care about the truth.”
The March 2nd hearing will be held at 1:30 pm at the White Plains City Courthouse in Judge John Collins’ courtroom.
“We have tremendous gratitude for the prayers of all our pro-life friends,” stated Matthew Connolly. “This small victory gives us hope as we continue to work for the total protection of all human life.”
Red Rose Rescuers do not pay fines, for they do not concede that, by attempting to save the lives of babies in imminent danger of death, they have done anything wrong.
Please continue to pray for Mr. Anduze as he presents his legal arguments in a new brief; pray for the prosecution and judge who earnestly seek to imprison the rescuers; and pray for the rescuers to bear faithful witness to the truth.