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A former prosecutor now working with the Life Legal Defense Foundation says a theft case against an abortion business worker should have been the easiest thing in the world to prove, since, after all, there was a witness who saw what happened and provided a statement.
But the case has stalled because authorities in Tuscaloosa, Ala., have refused to move forward, and that makes it look like they are protecting the abortion business, according to a report from LLDF.
“The Tuscaloosa city attorney office’s actions give credence to the idea that they are defying the law to protect [Tuscaloosa] abortion clinic director Gloria Gray,” said Allison Aranda, senior staff counsel for Life Legal Defense Foundation.
“It has been reported that a personal friend of Gray’s, City Attorney Christopher England, is the person who told the warrant clerk not to issue the warrant. This appears as though Mr. England is attempting to protect his friends from criminal prosecution and thwarting justice for crime victim, Paul Lake,” she said.
The situation was that Lake had city permission to post a pro-life banner on city land.
“About 30 minutes later, a witness reported to Mr. Lake that the RN who works at the abortion clinic located at 535 Jack Warner Pkwy in Tuscaloosa, and a male assistant, who also works at the clinic, removed the banner, put it in a black Lexus, and drove into the abortion clinic parking lot. Mr. Lake immediately called the police to report the theft. Investigator Thorne, with the Tuscaloosa Police Department, investigated the crime, identified the two thieves and filed his report in municipal court. Investigator Thorne informed Mr. Lake that he could sign a warrant for the RN and the assistant’s arrest in Tuscaloosa Municipal Court,” the legal team reported.
However, city officials later said there was no case.
“This case is one of the easiest to prove that I’ve seen,” Aranda said. “There is an eyewitness who saw the crime occur as it was happening. The police then confront the perpetrators who admit to taking the sign and further, when asked if they would return the item to the owner, they tell police that the banner was destroyed. In the criminal justice arena that’s about as close to an open and shut case as you find.
“Furthermore, Mr. Lake had the proper permits and was present.”
LLDF said that unless action is taken in pursuit of justice, it will seek action against the Tuscaloosa city departments involved in the decisions.
The legal team said it addressed its concerns to Timothy Nunnally, James Woodson and England in the Tuscaloosa city attorney’s office, explaining in a letter that “It appears as though the city is looking for reasons to dismiss Mr. Lake’s valid claim that the RN and the assistant stole his property.”
“First, the city’s legal team made an invalid assertion that just because the banner was on city property that somehow a crime did not occur. This is simply not true,” the letter said. “Thus, the city’s legal team had no right to refuse the desired prosecution by Mr. Lake for theft of his banner.”
Secondly, the city explanation that there was no case because “there was no basis for criminal intent” also doesn’t stand up, said the LLDF letter.
“We are demanding that a warrant for the arrest of the RN and the male assistant be issued immediately. We further expect that the police department and city attorney’s office will both conduct a full investigation into the improper bias evidenced in their departments that resulted in a delay in prosecution in this matter.”
A response from Nunnally said that decisions about probable cause “and issuance of arrest warrants” are made by “neutral and detached magistrates.”
So he said the city police and prosecutor’s offices could not do anything.
“In my opinion all city officials involved have followed the proper procedures while upholding the highest level of professional integrity and conduct,” he wrote.
Officials in the prosecutor’s office declined to respond to WND’s request for comment.