Skip to content

ADF attorneys file preliminary injunction on behalf of Gideon silenced by local police

ADF attorneys represent member of Gideons threatened with arrest for distributing Bibles on public sidewalk
Related Case:
6 Ways to Show Your Appreciation for Your Pastor

MIAMI, Fla. — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a motion for preliminary injunction Thursday on behalf of a member of the Gideons threatened with arrest for distributing Bibles on a public sidewalk.  A Monroe County sheriff’s officer told Thomas Gray and several other Gideons members that they had “no right” to be within 500 feet of a public school’s property.

“The First Amendment ensures that all persons and groups, including the Gideons, have the right to engage in free speech on a public sidewalk,” said Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman.  “We are asking the court to halt the unconstitutional harassment of Gideons members while this lawsuit moves forward.”

On Jan. 19, Gray, along with other members of the Gideons Key Largo Camp, began distributing Bibles on a public sidewalk outside Key Largo School.  In accordance with Gideons Key Largo Camp policy, they did not step on to school grounds, and they notified the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office of their plans ahead of time.  School officials were also notified on the day of distribution. Both said the activity was permissible.

During the distribution, Gray learned that two other Gideons, Anthony Mirto and Ernest Simpson, were under arrest and sitting in a Monroe County patrol car.  Officer John Perez mocked the two men, saying they could “pray to Jesus all the way to jail.”  Out of fear of arrest, Gray left the scene and has not returned.  ADF attorneys filed suit on behalf of Gray on April 20.

“At no time during their distribution of Bibles did the Gideons break the law,” Cortman said.  “The state clearly stepped outside the law in its relentless efforts to shut down the speech of those who are acting within their constitutional rights.”

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.

Related Profiles

David Cortman
David A. Cortman
Senior Counsel, Vice President of U.S. Litigation
David A. Cortman serves as senior counsel and vice president of U.S. litigation with Alliance Defending Freedom.