[Original title: Dearborn Jury Holds Terry Jones May Be Barred from Organizing Rally Outside Mosque.] So reports the Detroit Free Press:
A Dearborn jury just sided with prosecutors, ruling that Terry Jones and Wayne Sapp would breach the peace if they rallied at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn.
Judge Mark Somers will now determine the conditions of Terry Jones’ bond….
Strikes me as a pretty clear violation of the would-be demonstrators’ First Amendment rights. (See my earlier post for more on one aspect of the issue.) I hope Jones seeks prompt review from higher courts, probably under some state law mandamus procedure that could give a quick remedy within days (rather than through a direct appeal, which could take months or years); if anyone knows how these things are done under Michigan law, I’d love to hear it. Ultimately, a petition for an emergency stay from the U.S. Supreme Court would be possible, but practically speaking Jones would need to go through the Michigan review process first.
UPDATE: Since I first linked to the story, there’s been a huge update:
A judge late today sent two Florida pastors to jail for refusing to post a $1 bond.
The stunning development came after a Dearborn jury sided with prosecutors, ruling that Terry Jones and Wayne Sapp would breach the peace if they rallied at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn.
Prosecutors asked Judge Mark Somers for $45,000 bond. Somers then set bond at $1 each for the two pastors.
They refused to pay. And Somers ordered them remanded to jail.
I’m not positive from the story, but I assume that Jones and Sapp refused to pay because part of the bond was a promise not to engage in the demonstration (and not just because they wanted to, as a matter of principle, refuse to pay even $1). Again, I assume that Jones will seek emergency review, and I expect that he will promptly win.
FURTHER UPDATE: For the ACLU of Michigan’s brief in the jury trial, see here; according to a commenter, a TV account reports that the ACLU will be representing Terry Jones in the review proceedings, though Jones apparently represented himself at trial.
STILL FURTHER UPDATE: The Detroit Free Press reports on a further development: “Late Friday the two pastors posted their $1 bond and left jail, according to Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly Jr.” But, “[a]According to the Wayne County prosecutor’s office, both Jones and Sapp are prohibited by the court from going to the mosque or adjacent property for three years.” Again, to the extent the order bars them from picketing near the mosque (apparently for fear that the picketing might lead to people violently attacking them), that is a prior restraint that pretty clearly violates the First Amendment; I expect the order to be reversed by higher courts.