Chicken-Fried News: Religious freedom? 

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A court recently agreed with a Christian woman who believes she was inappropriately arrested while protesting the religious rights of satanists.

The New Jersey woman traveled to Oklahoma City in 2014 to pray outside Civic Center Music Hall after learning about a black mass ceremony happening inside, according to okcfox.com.

Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed the charges, which alleged Joan Bell blocked an entrance and thereby trespassed on private property, the TV news outlet recently reported.

She and her appellate lawyer argued that she was actually praying outside an exit, not an entrance. Also, Civic Center Music Hall isn’t private property — it’s a municipal building adjacent to a public park.

“She was there for a significant amount of time and left completely unmolested until the very moment that she begins to practice religion,” Brian McCall, an appellate lawyer for Bell, told okcfox.com.

(He also is University of Oklahoma College of Law’s associate dean of academic affairs, associate director of the school’s law center and director of legal assistant education.)

City officials refused multiple requests from the station to explain why the city attorney prosecuted the case and why it chose not to amend the charges against Bell, according to okcfox.com.

Bell also claimed she went limp when officers approached her as a means of protesting her arrest, which the appeals court also said she had the right to do.

Print headline: Religious freedom?

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