Case Dismissed! PJI Defeats Criminal Charges Against Preacher in Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, PA–An open-air preacher who had been criminally charged for sharing his faith outside a high school has now had those charges dismissed.
In December of last year, Ryan Lee Grimes preached outside a high school in Pittsburgh after school had been dismissed and students were leaving for the day. Grimes was cited by law enforcement for “disorderly conduct” due to “unreasonable noise.” The considerable noise being generated at the same time by the hundreds of students streaming out of the school was not taken into account by law enforcement.
Grimes reached out to Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), which has secured dismissal of charges against several other preachers in California, Michigan, Nevada, and Washington State. PJI recognized that the charges did not comport with Supreme Court precedent or Pennsylvania case law favoring free speech. PJI secured local counsel for Grimes and submitted briefing explaining the unconstitutionality of the charges. Dismissal was finalized this week.
Brad Dacus, founder and president of PJI, commented, “Public proclamation of the Gospel is among the oldest American traditions. It is not disorderly conduct. We are thrilled by this victory for free speech and religious freedom.”
Over the last two years, PJI has seen a dramatic increase in the number of requests from street preachers who have been unjustly arrested. PJI, yet to lose one of these cases, has additional street preacher cases currently pending in El Paso and San Antonio, Texas.
PJI was assisted locally in Mr. Grimes’ case by Jacob McCrea Law of Pittsburgh.