On December 13, 2006, I wrote about Michigan prolife missionary Cal Zastrow, and his conviction in court for "failure to obey a police officer." He appealed the case, and on Friday, February 23, won the appeal. Here are some details from Cal:
"Dear family and friends,
February 24, 2007
Holiness unto the Lord!
Thank you for praying. Our loving Father has shown mercy by granting us a victory in court yesterday. Ken Scott and I were acquitted of the charges of failure to obey a police officer. Judge McDaniel acquitted us of our criminal charge and we do not have to spend the next four months in the Rankin County jail in Mississippi.
We had a prayer meeting outside of the courthouse, and were immediately tested upon entering. A deputy and a lieutenant greeted us with scowls and by pointing to a sign that prohibited cel. phones, books, reading material, purses, food, drink, gum, sleeping, and children under the age of ten in the courthouse.
Ken went through the metal detector first. The Lt. pointed and ordered, "You can't take that Bible in there."
I smiled, looked at the boss, and asked him if this was a statute.
"It is the policy!"
"Excuse me Lieutenant. Could you please tell me which judge has made this policy?"
"All of them!"
"Excuse me Lieutenant. I am a defendant in a criminal case this morning and I have brought my two daughters. One of them is under ten and she won't make any noise or -"
"NO. Don't ask me no more questions!" he interrupted.
Ken was trying to persuade the deputy that the Bible was part of his defense in court and not simply reading material. We went outside to pray again. Eva, my eight-year-old daughter, was crestfallen. She had ridden over 1,000 miles in the car to see Daddy in court, and then was ordered to leave. At our homeschool, Zastrow's Missionary Training Academy, the class on how to stand up for Jesus against tyranny is "hands-on."
Steve Crampton, from the American Family Association Center for Law and Public Policy, arrived and went to talk to the judge to get special permission to allow Bibles and my daughter into court. While waiting outside, I prepared for the worst by saying goodbye to my girls in case this appeal was lost and I had to go directly to jail for four months. Steve came back out with good news. The judge consented. I happily brought my daughters and Bible into court. It was a blessing to have five local pro-life friends in attendance, and a delightful surprise when State Senator Richard White came from the State Capitol to stand with us. The trial began and the prosecution had the two policemen testify that we were holding signs on an overpass and wouldn't leave when ordered to. They felt that we were a "potential safety hazard." They said that we could have impeded traffic on the bridge by stepping into the lane of traffic. The prosecutor pointed out that the police have the power and authority to make such orders. The police testified that we did not actually impede anything, but that it was possible that we could have. Our attorney pointed out the necessity for such orders to be lawful, and that any pedestrian on a sidewalk near a road is a "potential safety hazard." The judge was thinking. He told the prosecution that an officer does have the power to make orders and arrests, but not always the lawful right. He even said that a police officer could order somebody to buy him a quart of milk at Kroger's, but that that wouldn't be lawful or right. The trial was looking real good at that point. After a break for lunch, Ken and I both testified. Steve did a great job at closing arguement while the prosecutor rehashed that the police have the "power" to make judgment calls, etc. The judge actually read the law and the intent of the Legislature for that law as he acquitted us of our criminal charges. In line at the restaurant for lunch, I started witnessing about Jesus to the car mechanic standing behind us. He had his work clothes on. D.L. Johnson was a nice guy who smiled big and told of being born-again just three years ago. The first of two patches on his shirt read, "Capitol Bodyshop." The second patch I received as a word from God for me: "Expect miracles." I asked for one. I got it! All glory to King Jesus.
Thanks again for praying. I am shouting GLORY all the way!
I talked with Cal Saturday afternoon. He was very encouraged by the victory. So many times when prolifers are arrested, they are the ones who are found guilty. So many times when there are assaults in front of abortion clinics, the prolifers are the ones hauled off to jail, even though it was the pro-aborts doing the slugging. Thank the Lord there is still at least one judge in Mississippi who reads the law and applies it as it is written, rather than ruling based on his own views. May this be an encouragement to other prolifers who are battling the murder of preborn children across our land!