Prosecutors in Las Vegas have given up their “ridiculous” case against a street preacher who was accused of blocking a sidewalk, even though he wasn’t even on it.
The end of the case against Ron Cardiel, a Washington state man who periodically travels to Las Vegas to preach on the sidewalks of the Las Vegas Strip, was announced by the Pacific Justice Institute after it defended him on the charge.
Pacific Justice explained that “Brother Ron,” as Cardiel is known, was cited by authorities and faced up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000, for speaking to passersby on the Strip.
When presented with the facts, however, the local court dismissed the case entirely.
Cardiel had been charged in April for violating a Clark County law that forbids obstructing sidewals.
Pacific Justice explained Cardiel was not actually standing on the sidewalk, but near it.
“Pedestrians freely moved past him with ease, rarely if ever needing to sidestep around him.”
Nevertheless, a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer decided that because Cardiel was standing in one place instead of moving around, he was obstructing.
“The officer and three of his fellow officers ganged up on Cardiel and demanded that he move along,” PJI said.
The officers cited Cardiel for a misdemeanor when he asserted that the sidewalk, as a public forum, was a location where he could practice his First Amendment freedoms of religion and free speech,
PJI staff attorney Ray Hacke and affiliate attorney Day Williams flew down to Las Vegas to defend Cardiel at his recent criminal trial.
“What happened to Brother Ron was beyond ridiculous,” PJI president Brad Dacus said.
“The last time I checked, the First Amendment still protects the freedom of individuals to share their faith in public. PJI exists in part to defend that right, and I’m glad the Clark County D.A. had the good sense to dismiss Brother Ron’s case because he never should have been charged in the first place.”
The legal team explained the law used against Cardeil was “unconstitutionally vague and overbroad” and didn’t even define what makes up an “obstruction.”
“The ordinance was also overbroad because it effectively prohibited people from engaging in free speech on the sidewalks of the Strip. PJI consequently submitted a motion to the Las Vegas Regional Justice Center to dismiss Brother Ron’s case,” PJI said.
The Clark County District Attorney ultimately moved for dismissal, which was granted.