PRO-LIFE ACTIVIST WINS CASE AGAINST PLANNED PARENTHOOD
NWV Senior Political News Writer, Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
August 11, 2015
© 2015 NewsWithViews.com
A conservative watchdog and law firm on Monday were victorious in defending the First Amendment rights of a pro-life activist after he was arrested by police officers in Chicago, Illinois, last April. Pro-life leader Eric Scheidler was found not guilty of criminal trespass charges for his leading a protest against a Planned Parenthood Gala, a fundraising event at Chicago's Navy Pier.
Scheidler, Executive Director of the Pro-Life Action League, through his Thomas More Society attorneys had claimed that he was arrested a short time after being granted explicit permission to access the pier while Planned Parenthood -- a group in the midst of a far-reaching scandal that may mean the loss of federal funding -- held their fundraiser.
According to officials for the Thomas More Society, Scheidler's legal team filed a Petition for Rule to Show Cause, a step on the road to filing a request for the court find Navy Pier in contempt of court. The petition requested that the Cook County Circuit Court issue an order for Navy Pier’s Director of Safety and Security, John Graeber, to show cause for his failure to produce his department's documents despite a subpoena. The documents were believed to contain important evidence supporting Eric Scheidler's version of what occurred during the Planned Parenthood event.
The Special Counsel for Thomas More Society, Peter Breen, called Monday's judicial ruling, "a great win" for Scheidler, Breen and his associate counsel, Corrina Konczal. "People have a right to go on Navy Pier," Breen asserted. "It's a public place... and you can't be excluded because you are protesting an event that is happening there. This was a case of Navy Pier personnel reacting badly to our client because of the First Amendment protected activity he was engaged in, and not because of any actual criminal activity."
Scheidler said that he is really excited to, "Get back to fighting Planned Parenthood on the frontlines, especially in light of all the horrific revelations that have been coming out recently about their business selling baby parts."
Meanwhile, according to Examiner, Department of Justice officials are being pressured by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and other Democrat politicians, to launch an investigation of the group that produced undercover videos that graphically showed Planned Parenthood staff members speaking about how they sell organs removed from the lifeless bodies of aborted babies, a number of them as many as 24-weeks old and capable of living without being inside their mothers' wombs.
While the videos are available to all news media organizations -- including the Examiner's writers -- most of the major media are ignoring the details of the videos and concentrating on casting suspicion of those responsible for uncovering a sordid and inhumane practice. "I've worked in law enforcement for more than 30-years and if any case deserved an investigation it's the allegations against Planned Parenthood.
But instead of looking into the abortion-providing 'charity,' federal law enforcement is focusing their investigation on the undercover journalists who dared to blow the whistle on these obviously calculating, deceptive and politicized people at Planned Parenthood," said former sex crimes detective Janet Benedetto. who said she is pro-choice "within reason."
On April 15, 2015, Eric Scheidler, Executive Director of the Pro-Life Action League, organized a pro-life protest against Planned Parenthood, which was hosting a fundraising dinner at the ballroom at the far end of Navy Pier. The pro-life picketers, bearing protest signs, were positioned on public property, near the entry way to the Pier.
At one point during the evening, Eric Scheidler walked onto the Pier without any picket sign or other protest insignia and was immediately confronted by a Navy Pier security guard. After talking to Mr. Scheidler and calling his superior officer, the guard told Mr. Scheidler that it was okay to walk down the Pier as long as he went alone and did not hold any protest signs. Mr. Scheidler even put his pro-life hat in his pocket so he could not be accused of protesting while on Pier property. Yet, despite his obeying the security guard’s directions, Mr. Scheidler was later arrested by Chicago police as he was about to exit the Pier property and was charged with trespassing. The charge goes so far as to claim – falsely – that Mr. Scheidler was explicitly told by Sophia Hardy, the Pier’s complaining witness, that his “entry was forbidden,” in utter defiance of the truth!
Immediately upon receiving word of Eric Scheidler’s arrest, Thomas More Society’s attorneys sent a letter to Navy Pier, which boasts countless security cameras, admonishing Pier personnel not to destroy any video evidence from that day.
The Society’s attorneys then filed a subpoena demanding that Navy Pier produce video footage of Mr. Scheidler’s interactions with the security guards, as well as any personnel logs that could help determine the name of the security guard who granted Mr. Scheidler permission to enter the Pier. This information is key to Mr. Scheidler’s defense as it would prove that he was given explicit permission to enter the property, thereby negating the trespass charge.
Navy Pier was due to comply with the subpoena by June 15, 2015, but did not do so. As a result, the Society’s attorneys have filed and served a Petition for Rule to Show Cause asking the Court to order John Graeber, Navy Pier Director of Safety and Security, to appear before the Court on July 1, 2015, and explain why Navy Pier has failed to produce these key documents, or be held in contempt of court.
© 2015 NWV - All Rights Reserved