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Thomas More Society Back in Court to Enter 'Not Guilty' Plea for Second Arrestee Under Chicago's 'Bubble Zone'

by Staff
August 13, 2010
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CHICAGO, (christiansunite.com) -- Tomorrow, Thomas More Society attorney Peter Breen will once again be in a Cook County Circuit Court to enter a "not guilty" plea on behalf of a man arrested for standing on the sidewalk outside the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Chicago. David Avignone is the second arrestee under Chicago's controversial "Bubble Zone" ordinance, which applies outside an abortion clinic to prohibit approaching within eight feet of a person to present a leaflet, sign or oral message to that person. Avignone, an MBA student at Loyola University Chicago, was arrested on July 8 and has been charged with disorderly conduct.

"David did nothing wrong -- he was exercising his First Amendment rights on a public sidewalk, and this arrest is another sad attempt at scaring pro-life people away from Planned Parenthood," said Breen, executive director and legal counsel at the Thomas More Society. In 2009, Breen presented testimony on behalf of the Society that the "Bubble Zone" ordinance is unconstitutional during committee hearings.

On August 3, the City of Chicago dismissed the same charges against Joe Holland, a Northwestern University graduate student who was arrested as he prayed the rosary outside Planned Parenthood's Near North Side facility. Video of the incident showed Holland standing outside the entrance to the facility and praying, not approaching any individual to leaflet, picket or engage in "sidewalk counseling."

Breen commented, "David and Joe, arrested within a week of one another, were arrested even though they were both standing still, which is perfectly legal under the ordinance. We call on the City of Chicago to end this pattern of illegal arrests and repeal its 'Bubble Zone' ordinance."

The court previously granted the Thomas More Society permission to serve subpoenas on Planned Parenthood for relevant security footage and on the City of Chicago for relevant "911" call tapes. The responses to those subpoenas are due tomorrow in court.

About the Thomas More Society
Founded in 1997, the Thomas More Society is a national public interest law firm that exists to restore respect for life in law. Based in Chicago, the Thomas More Society defends the sanctity of human life, the family and religious liberty in courtrooms across the country. The Society is a nonprofit organization wholly supported by private donations. For more information or to support the work of Thomas More Society, please visit www.thomasmoresociety.org.

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