FREE SPEECH — A
pastor at a Berkeley church was jailed Friday for 30 days after
unsuccessfully arguing that an order requiring him to stay 100 yards
away from an Oakland abortion clinic violates his right to free speech, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
Walter Hoye, 52, of Union City was the first person convicted under an Oakland ordinance barring protesters from coming within 8 feet of
anyone entering an abortion clinic.
In February, Judge Stuart Hing of Alameda County Superior Court
sentenced Hoye to three years' probation and 30 days in jail, and
ordered him to pay $1,000.
Hoye could have disposed of the jail time in a sheriff's work
detail or by volunteering. But he balked at the judge's order to stay
100 yards from Family Planning Specialists Medical Group at Second and
Webster streets. Hoye argued that the order was more severe than
Oakland's ordinance and stifled his First Amendment rights.
Hing refused to budge at a hearing Friday at which Hoye's attorneys
tried to stay the sentence pending an appeal. The judge asked Hoye to
decide whether he wished to serve a month in jail or in an alternative
program, and the pastor chose jail.
Hoye, executive elder of the Progressive Missionary Baptist Church
in south Berkeley, hands out anti-abortion literature outside abortion
clinics. He was arrested May 13 at the Oakland clinic, carrying a sign
that read, "Jesus loves you and your baby. Let us help you!"
As women approached the door, he asked them, "May I talk to you about alternatives to the clinic?"