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Judge dismisses all charges against two Gideons members who handed out Bibles on public sidewalk

Related Case: State of Florida v. Simpson

PLANTATION KEY, Fla. — A judge dismissed all charges Friday against two members of The Gideons International who were arrested while attempting to distribute Bibles on a public sidewalk outside Key Largo School.  Alliance Defense Fund Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman represented the two men.

"Christians cannot be treated as second-class citizens," said Cortman.  "These two men have the same constitutional rights as everyone else to pass out literature on a public sidewalk.  We are pleased that the court agrees that these men should not have been arrested and dismissed the charges against them."

On Jan. 19, police arrested Ernest Simpson and Anthony Mirto and charged them with trespassing after the principal of Key Largo School complained that they were handing out Bibles on the public sidewalk outside the school.  Following the initial motion to dismiss filed by ADF attorneys, the state dismissed the charges but then filed new ones under a different statute.  At Friday’s hearing, the court granted the request of ADF attorneys to dismiss the new charges.

A fact sheet on the case, State of Florida v. Simpson, is available here.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

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