Pro-life protesters who were convicted of trespass after offering red roses to women lined up for an abortion are telling the Court of Appeals in Michigan they were railroaded in their trial in a lower court because the judge refused to offer their defense to the jury.
That would be a “necessity” defense, which under Michigan precedent should be given to a jury if a defendant requests it.
The American Freedom Law Center argued in a brief filed with the appeals court that that court itself concluded: “In an appropriate factual situation, a defense of necessity may be interposed to a criminal trespass action. However, there must be some evidence from which each element of such defense may be inferred before the defense may be considered by a trier of fact.”
AFLC has been defending several groups of “Red Rose” protesters in Michigan who have been convicted of trespassing.
AFLC has asked for permission to appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals on behalf of Dr. Monica Miller, William Goodman, Matthew Connolly and Abygail McIntyre for their entrance in an abortion business in Sterling Heights.
The lawyers are seeking a precedent that would help pro-life activists in the future.
“More specifically, in the petition, AFLC seeks appellate court review of the trial court’s refusal to instruct the jury on two viable defenses to the trespass charge: the defense of necessity and the defense of others.”
AFLC argues: “A criminal defendant has a state and federal constitutional right to present a defense. … Instructional errors that directly affect a criminal defendant’s theory of defense infringe her due process right to present a defense, warranting a new trial.”
Before the trial began, defendants filed a motion requesting jury instructions on two related and relevant defenses: necessity and defense of others.
But the judge refused, effectively depriving defendants of “their due process rights to present a defense.:
AFLC Senior Counsel Robert J. Muise said: “These proceedings reminded me of a passage from the Gospel of St. John, which reads as follows: ‘And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.’ Our clients live the truth and come to the light. Their works, while considered ‘criminal’ by secular authority, are clearly seen as done in God.”
WND reported the trials concerned a new type of civil disobedience to protect women and unborn babies from abortionists.
The protesters enter abortion businesses and quietly give red roses to women in the waiting room attached with the message “God is love.”
The group from Sterling Heights and another from West Bloomfield were convicted for entering businesses “armed with red roses and a message of love and hope.”
They simply handed out roses and cards that read: “God is Love. And He loves you and your unborn baby! Don’t be afraid. Your life circumstances will change – and this baby will give you boundless joy! Call the numbers on other side of this card. Le[t] us help you! There is help for you and your baby.”
Abortion-business workers called the police, and the pro-lifers were arrested.