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Court grants ADF request, dismisses charges against Ga. man for passing out religious literature

Decision affirms constitutional right to engage in religious speech on public property
Published On: 10/18/2017

CUMMING, Ga. — A Georgia Superior Court has dismissed all charges against Frederic Baumann, a Christian man whom Cumming police arrested in April for passing out religious literature on a public sidewalk.  Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund represent Baumann and had requested the court dismiss the charges.

“Christians have the same First Amendment rights as anyone else in America and cannot be treated as second-class citizens,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman.  “The government should not force them to get special permission before practicing their constitutional right to free speech.  The fact that the court dismissed the charges against Mr. Baumann is not just significant for him but for all citizens who cherish their First Amendment rights.”

Police arrested Baumann on April 22 for distributing religious tracts on a public sidewalk outside the City of Cumming Fairgrounds.  Officials told Baumann he violated a city ordinance requiring parade and demonstration organizers to obtain a permit prior to such activities; however, the permit only applied to private organizations or groups of three or more persons.

Baumann made multiple requests to view a copy of the ordinance, all of which were denied.  He served two days in jail and was convicted before a municipal court judge, who sentenced him to time already served.  Because he was not told he would stand trial that day, Baumann was denied the opportunity to obtain legal counsel.

 “City officials not only acted illegally when they arrested Mr. Baumann, they denied him his constitutional right to due process under the law,” said Cortman.  “We are glad that this injustice has now been reversed and that Mr. Baumann’s right to free speech has been affirmed.”

 

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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