Texas Preacher Defeats Criminal Charges for Easter Sermon
San Antonio, TX—A public evangelist criminally charged for preaching to the crowds of downtown San Antonio received news from the court that his charges were dismissed this week, after Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) filed a trial brief in his defense.
Jeffrey Warner frequently travels to spread the gospel on public sidewalks, carefully aligning himself to local city ordinances before he preaches. During the Easter weekend of 2018, Warner used his sound amplifier to speak in a conversational manner to people passing by in a business district, complying with San Antonio’s decibel level restrictions.
Law enforcement officials warned him against preaching with a sound amplifier but were unable to provide Warner with the law they relied on. The next day Warner and several other preachers were told by officials to stop using amplification, which prompted Warner to insist that law enforcement provide him with a law. An officer arrived at the scene with a printed copy of the City’s noise ordinance and threatened to confiscate the amplifier to use as evidence at trial. However, the officers indicated they did not believe that Warner’s amplification surpassed the decibel level limit.
On Easter Sunday, Warner arrived at the same location downtown with his amplifier, and one of the officers immediately issued him a citation for violating the noise ordinance. Law enforcement did not approach or cite any of the various other amplifications used on nearby street corners, including a group of break dancers with a loud boombox.
Brad Dacus, president and founder of PJI, represented Warner in court, appearing at hearings and filing a trial brief that convinced the prosecutor to dismiss the case for lack of sufficient evidence. Dacus commented, “It was an honor for me to represent and vindicate the rights of a faithful witness for Jesus Christ. It is vital that we preserve the right in America and hold to a commitment to publicly proclaim the good news of the Gospel.”
PJI continues to see a significant increase in requests from street preachers who are deprived of their free speech rights. This year PJI secured the dismissal of charges for street preachers in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Washington state.