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by William B. May
|Sentencing Update, 3/20/2009 |
OAKLAND, CA, Mar 18, 2009 -- Rev. Walter Hoye will be re-sentenced before Alameda County Judge Stuart Hing on March 20 after he defiantly refused to accept the conditions of probation proposed by the judge at his first sentencing hearing on February 19. Hoye faces up to two years in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.
|Background and sample video of Walter Hoye's presence at the abortion clinic. |
On February 19, the judge sentenced Rev. Hoye to 30 days community service, imposed a fine of $1,130, and three years probation with the condition that he stay more than 100 yards away for the abortion clinic where he was arrested.
Hoye refused to accept the terms of the probation because it would abridge his First Amendment rights. He indicated that he would follow the law, but would not accept the proposed restrictions. The judge then said he was going to impose probation in Rev. Hoye anyway, which is illegal. Attorneys and Reverend Hoye met in chambers for hours with no resolution. Rev. Hoye left the sentencing with his wife, Lori, free and without restrictions and with no resolution regarding the sentence.
The judge could sentence him to probation again with more reasonable terms or sentence him to jail and remand him into cusdity on have him remanded into custody on the spot.
One of Walter’s attorneys, Mike Millen, made the point that there was a "conspicuous absence" of victims at the trial that Rev Hoye was alleged to have harassed.
Despite the lack of any evidence or a victim, Hoye was inexplicably convicted of something he did not do on January 15. This was a grave injustice.
In protest of the sentence on Feburary 19, supporters of Walter Hoye, led by black pastors, left the courtroom singing “We shall overcome”. I spoke with several black pastors who told me that this was a wake up call. Thanks to Walter Hoye’s efforts and this incident, they are now starting to understand how black women and their babies have been targeted, and the impact abortion is having on their community.
Well over 100 people came to support Walter. About 80 people remained in the corridor just outside the courtroom praying on their knees. It was beautiful.
A number of abortion clinic workers and their allies tried to disrupt prayers and hymns before the doors of the courtroom opened. Crassly, they started chanting, “Separate church and state, women will decide their fate.” They don’t get it. They also used their power to somehow convince the judge to change normal procedures for public access to the courtroom, giving them preferential treatment over many of Hoye’s friends and supporters that had been waiting in line for hours.
Walter and Lori expressed a great deal of appreciation for all of the prayers and and expressions of support they have received. They said they could feel the love and the power of the Holy Spirit surrounding them.
This is not over yet. We continue to pray that Our Lady of Guadalupe will continue to keep Walter and his family, the judge and the prosecutors under her protection.
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Read Star Parker's OpEd about this case
Black pastors from around the country rally in support of Walter Hoye.
February 19, 2009
CONTACT:Dana Cody, Executive Director
FOR OFFERING ABORTION ALTERNATIVES
ON PUBLIC SIDEWALK
OAKLAND, Calif.: Today the Rev. Walter Hoye of Berkeley, California was sentenced to serve 30 days in county jail and fined $1,130.00 by Judge Hing of the Alameda Superior Court after being found guilty on January 15, 2009, of unlawfully approaching a person entering an abortion clinic in Oakland. The court is allowing Rev. Hoye to serve his time by an alternative method like community service. Rev. Hoye was also ordered to stay away from the clinic.
However, Rev. Hoye refused this term of probation and would not agree to a stay-away order. Nonetheless, the judge is having the order drawn up and refused to accept Rev. Hoye's decision not to agree to the stay-away order. Dozens in the African-American community from around the nation who came out in support of Rev. Hoye were outraged by the sentence. The consensus of these leaders is that it was a travesty that Rev. Hoye was found guilty in the first place for standing in the gap for black children targeted by the abortion industry. Now they are simply enraged.
"It is absolutely incredible that in America an individual can be sentenced to jail for engaging in peaceful free speech activity on a public sidewalk," remarked Allison Aranda, Staff Counsel for Life Legal Defense Foundation. Allison Aranda further stated "Rev. Hoye has a legal right to refuse onerous conditions of probation. Rev. Hoye will not and should not agree to give up his free speech rights. We will appeal."
Rev. Hoye is an African-American pastor who feels a special calling to work for the end of the genocide-by-abortion taking place in the African-American community. As part of his efforts, he stands in front of an abortion clinic in Oakland with leaflets offering abortion alternatives and a sign reading, "Jesus loves you and your baby. Let us help." That was, until he was found guilty and jailed for "unlawfully" approaching abortion clinic patients because the Oakland City Council passed an ordinance making it a crime to stand on a public sidewalk offering alternatives to abortion.
According to 2004 statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics, about 37 percent of pregnancies of black women end in abortion, compared with 12 percent for non-Hispanic white women and 19 percent for Hispanic women.
LLDF Legal Director Catherine Short and attorney Mike Millen, who also represented Rev. Hoye at trial, are currently challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance on Rev. Hoye's behalf in federal court. They are hopeful the ordinance will be struck down and Rev. Hoye vindicated.
For more details about Rev. Hoye's case go to www.lldf.org. Life Legal Defense Foundation was established in 1989, and is a non-profit organization composed of attorneys and other concerned citizens, committed to the sanctity of human life. For more information, call Dana Cody at 916.727.4396.