Last week a Michigan appeals court ruled that a minister had the right to hurl at a judge biblical curses that had landed him in jail.
The appeals court unanimously decided the Rev. Edward Pinkney’s rights to free speech were violated when he was sentenced to jail for writing a commentary criticizing his trial judge.
In 2007, Pinkney was convicted for paying people $5 to vote in a recall election for a congressional seat in Michigan’s 6th District that he lost. He warned that the Lord would smite the judge who sentenced him to probation with “consumption and with a fever and with an inflammation and with extreme burning,” referring to a passage in Deuteronomy.
The black minister from Benton Harbor, Mich., also called Judge Alfred Butzbaugh “dumb” and a “racist” in the commentary published in a Chicago-based populist newspaper.
Pinkney argued the judge encroached on his First Amendment rights when he sentenced him to prison for three to 10 years in June 2008.
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