By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

OAKLAND, California, April 9, 2009 ( – Oakland pastor Walter Hoye, who was sent to jail on March 23 for peacefully counseling and picketing at a local abortion facility, has been released after serving 18 days of his 30-day sentence.

The California Catholic Daily reports that Hoye’s sentence was reduced by 10 days for “good behavior,” plus additional credit by the sentencing judge, Stuart Hing, for the time Hoye spent confined in a patrol car after his arrest.

Hoye was sentenced to 30 days in county jail by Judge Hing of the Alameda Superior Court, who found him guilty of unlawfully approaching two persons entering an abortion facility in Oakland and offering information about abortion alternatives.

The Contra Costa Times reported that Rev. Hoye “went free Tuesday with a wider, louder network of anti-abortion supporters than before he went to trial,” and that Oakland city’s attempted enforcement of a bubble zone law around the abortuary “has backfired.”

“The sidewalk near Jack London Square that Walter Hoye patrolled weekly – accompanied by two elderly church women – drew a crowd of a few dozen protesters Tuesday morning for another in a series of vigils aimed at painting the law as an attack on free speech. Now, as Hoye pushes to reverse a judge’s order to stay away from the clinic, his backers said the city’s year-old ‘bubble law’ – which bans approaching within 8 feet of a potential client trying to enter a clinic – has backfired,” the Times report explained, and noted that pro-life demonstrators carried signs that said “Black genocide in this building” and “Stop Our Holocaust.”

“They would have been in a better position if they would have left him alone. They picked on one man on one street, one day a week trying to reach one woman at a time with one sign for one hour,” said Dion Evans, pastor of Alameda’s Chosen Vessels Christian Church. “Now a mobilization has come together because they’ve created an unjust law. People like myself who have been cheerleading are not on the sidelines anymore. We’re now in the game.”

It was reported that while in jail Rev. Hoye organized bible study groups, counseled inmates, and according to his wife Lori, “led six men to Christ.”

He was also visited by the Catholic Diocese of Oakland’s bishop-designate, Salvatore Joseph Cordileone, who met with Hoye on Saturday at the jail.

“He visited Walter Hoye because he respects Hoye’s affirmation of the value of human life,” diocesan spokesman Mike Brown told the Contra Costa Times.

See previous coverage:

Pastor Jailed for Pro-Life Witness Writes Letter from Prison to “Men of the Cloth”

African American Pastor Sent to Jail for Offering Abortion Alternatives on Public Sidewalk