Criminal conviction against Phoenix pastor sentenced for ringing church bells overturned
State court reverses conviction after federal court ruled application of Phoenix noise ordinance unconstitutional
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
PHOENIX — An Arizona court Tuesday overturned the conviction of a Phoenix pastor, represented by Alliance Defense Fund attorneys, who was sentenced to jail for ringing church bells. The court reversed the conviction of Bishop Rick Painter of Christ the King Liturgical Charismatic Church in the wake of a federal court’s determination last month that the city noise ordinance under which he was convicted is unconstitutional when enforced against sounds generated in the course of religious expression, such as church bells. The ordinance offered an exemption for ice cream trucks, but not for churches.
“Pastors and churches shouldn’t live in fear of being punished or penalized by the government,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “Certainly, no pastor should have to fear jail time for engaging in peaceful religious expression.” the rest