CHICAGO FAILS IN ATTEMPT TO PROSECUTE EVANGELIST;
POLICE DESTROY EVIDENCE 10/11/06
CHICAGO - The criminal case against Repent America (RA) director Michael Marcavage, relating to his arrest and subsequent incarceration during Chicago’s “Gay Games,” has come to a screeching halt. On October 4, the prosecutor announced that neither the alleged “complaining witness,” nor any of the numerous police officers identified as witnesses were willing to come to court to pursue the charges.
The case was continued from August 30 to October 4 when the prosecution advised the court that they had been unsuccessful in their attempts to reach the “complaining witness.” In the interim, the prosecution was to have made special efforts to contact the alleged witness, as well as reach the police officers involved to determine how they would proceed. The prosecution, however, failed to pull together a case, resulting in the “disorderly conduct” charge lodged against Marcavage to be “stricken off the call with leave to reinstate (SOL).” The charge cannot be reinstated unless the prosecution can demonstrate “good cause.”
“Obviously, as these were transparently trumped up charges and as the city could find no credible witnesses ready or able to back them up, the case was tossed on the trash heap where it belonged from the beginning. The case should never have been brought,” stated Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel at the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, attorney for Marcavage. “And now that it has been thrown out, it’s high time that our city be held to make a full accounting for this egregious and disgraceful suppression of fundamental First Amendment liberties on the streets of Chicago,” Brejcha concluded.
Repent America filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Chicago a week prior to Marcavage’s arrest for an incident that took place on July 16, 2006. On this occasion, several RA volunteers were arrested and jailed for several hours, but not charged, for attempting to minister the Gospel on a public sidewalk near Navy Pier. The lawsuit has now been amended to include the July 22, 2006 incident.
"Adding insult to injury, we found on retrieving a videotape of the events leading up to the arrest (outside Wrigley Field, just before the closing ceremonies) that after confiscating the tape the police had recorded over it to destroy this critical evidence, yielding a powerful inference that the videotape would have fully proved our client's utter innocence," said Brejcha. "It was an honor to represent one so intrepid and determined to preach the Word of God in the teeth of such adversity and so near the Gates of Hell," Brejcha concluded.
Narrative of Arrest on July 22, 2006
Copy of Federal Lawsuit, "Marcavage vs. City of Chicago, et. al."
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