In a courtroom jammed to capacity with spectators, a judge yesterday sentenced a Baptist pastor from Berkeley to 30 days in jail, fined him $1,130 and placed him on probation for three years for violating Oakland’s restrictive ‘bubble law,’ crafted to keep pro-life sidewalk counselors away from women entering abortion centers.
Observers said as many as 150 people were outside the courtroom, which seats only about 60, before the 1:30 p.m. hearing began. Some of the standing-room-only crowd were there to support the embattled pro-lifer, while others showed up to back the abortion clinic.
Alameda Superior Court Judge Stuart Hing sentenced the Rev. Walter Hoye amidst what one attorney close to the case called “total chaos, procedurally speaking” after Hoye refused to accept as a condition of probation an order that he stay away from the Oakland abortion clinic where he was arrested. . . .
Hoye had initially been charged with four counts of violating the ordinance – two counts of “unlawful approach” and two counts of using “force, threat of force or physical obstruction” against ‘escorts’ at Family Planning Specialists Clinic in Oakland. The charges stemmed from two separate incidents – one on April 29, 2008 and one on May 13, 2008. Hoye was arrested on May 13 after a clinic staff member called police. He was carrying a 40-inch sign that read, "Jesus Loves You & Your Baby. Let Us Help You," and attempting to hand out pro-life literature. . . .
Hoye, who has no previous criminal record, rejected a plea bargain offered by the district attorney before trial. The deal guaranteed no jail time if Hoye pleaded guilty to one count in exchange for dismissal of the other three. “The threat of four years in jail is a potent one, but my client is more interested in getting the truth out, both on the sidewalk and in the courtroom,” commented Mike Millen, another Life Legal Defense Foundation attorney working on Hoye’s case, when the offer was turned down.More of the story here.