Reaction to Pastor Terry Jones’ court hearing: Pastor Terry Jones talks to the media as he departs the courthourse in Dearborn for a lunch recess. Also in the courtoom during the proceeding, a Muslim-American law student at WSU. / MIKE BROOKBANK/Detroit Free Press 4/22/2011 via freep.com
Judge Mark Somers, above, sent Pastor Terry Jones to jail. / Free Press file photos
A judge late today sent two Florida pastors to jail for refusing to post a $1 bond.
The stunning development came after a Dearborn jury sided with prosecutors, ruling that Terry Jones and Wayne Sapp would breach the peace if they rallied at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn.
Prosecutors asked Judge Mark Somers for $45,000 bond. Somers then set
bond at $1 each for the two pastors.
They refused to pay. And Somers ordered them remanded to jail.
Earlier, in closing arguments, Wayne County assistant prosecutor Robert Moran said
the pastors would disturb the peace if they were allowed to protest today at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn.
Jones and Sapp argued their right is protected under the First Amendment.
“That’s what made America great,” said Sapp. “We’re entitled to our opinion.”
‘We’ll do it today at 5 or we’ll come back next week’
Earlier, after an intense debate in court this morning over free speech and religion, Pastor Terry Jones said that he’s not backing down from his plans to protest at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn.
Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad testified today that there have been at least four serious threats made against Jones from metro Detroiters, arguing that his protest could lead to violence if allowed.
But Jones told the Free Press during his lunch break: “We’ll do it today at 5 or we’ll come back next week.”
Speaking at a McDonald’s restaurant down the street from the courthouse, Jones — who’s defending himself — said he thought the proceedings are going well. And he said the government’s case was weak.
As he spoke, someone drove down Michigan Avenue yelling “Get out of Dearborn, you terrorist!”
Jones is facing a jury trial today on whether he should be allowed to protest outside the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn.
The opening statements of Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Moran and Pastor Terry Jones offered clashing visions as both wrestled with issues of religion and freedom of speech. The court drew both supporters and opponents, Christians and Muslims. The ACLU of Michigan was also there to monitor the case because the group has concerns that Jones’ free speech rights are being violated by Wayne County and Dearborn Police.
Jones was in court along with Pastor Wayne Sapp, who is known for burning a copy of the Quran on Jones’ orders.
In his opening statement, Jones repeated negative comments about Islam that he made last month when he oversaw the burning of the Quran in Florida. He said in court today that the Quran “promotes terrorist activities around the world.”
He also strongly defended the U.S. Constitution.
“The one thing that makes the Constitution great is the First Amendment,” Jones said to the jury.
Except for the Bible, the Constitution is the greatest document in history, Jones said.
“The 1st Amendment does us no good if it confines us to saying what is popular,” he added.
Moran said in his opening statement this was an issue of security and breaching the peace.
If the jury sides with prosecutors, the judge, Mark Somers, will set a bond and its rules. If Jones decides not to meet the bond requirements, he could be jailed, said a court official.