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Gay KY Couple Who Protested Marriage License Denial Convicted of Trespassing, Fined 1 Cent: VIDEO

Louisville Gay Couple

Back in January, we reported on openly gay Louisville Baptist Minister The Rev. Maurice "Bojangles" Blanchard and his partner of 9 years, Dominque James who were arrested after a peaceful "pray-in" at a county clerk's office following their denial of a marriage license. Earlier this week, the two were convicted in criminal court but received a very unusual fine for the offense. The Courier-Journal reports:

After three hours of testimony in which their lawyers hailed them for their civil disobedience, while the prosecution urged jurors to stick to the facts, Blanchard and James were convicted Tuesday of trespassing - but fined only a penny.

Blanchard called the penalty a vindication of their protest in support of same-sex marriage.

"It shows they understood what we were doing," he said after jurors returned their verdict following 90 minutes of deliberations. 

James' lawyer, Annie O'Connell, said the fine may have been the smallest ever imposed in a criminal trial in Kentucky.

Blanchard's counsel, Ted Shouse, said in court that he had never tried a case in which the maximum penalty - $250 - "was so low and the stakes were so high."

The paper reports that the jury sent a note to the judge asking if they could convict the defendants and impose no fine, but were notified that they had to fine the defendants something. 

Check out a news report of the couple's January protest, AFTER THE JUMP...

 

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Comments

  1. Would not pay EVEN that because as they have proved it does not make ANY sense!

    Posted by: Mike | Nov 29, 2013 6:59:06 PM


  2. That's nice and all, but they still have a criminal conviction on their records, which could have implications later.

    Posted by: Kendall | Nov 29, 2013 7:25:23 PM


  3. After the jury imposed the 1¢ fine, the judge vacated it. The law in KY only stipulates that a jury must impose a fine if there is a verdict of guilty, it also grants the judge wide latitude to modify the fine however he or she sees fit.

    Posted by: Nick | Nov 29, 2013 9:22:58 PM


  4. And that was a jury in Kentucky! Can't judge a book by its cover - or a state by its senators!

    Posted by: Mitch | Nov 30, 2013 2:01:29 AM


  5. KENDALL
    It's not a felony, the "crime" they were barely convicted of is a misdemeanour, and carry about as much weight as Jay walking in many cities which is much more expensive. No weight will be carried.

    Posted by: Eric Gonzalez | Nov 30, 2013 8:21:36 AM


  6. This is perfect. The jury showed the idiocy of the law by the way they decided this case. It make the civil disobedience complete in its objectives.

    Posted by: DavidR | Nov 30, 2013 6:18:23 PM


  7. Oh, the larger issue of ham-sandwich prosecutions that plague US jurisprudence was dealt a severe blow here. Don't make your every prosecution a case of full-on disobedience punishment because in many cases disobedience itself will not be punished! If you understand the concept of civil law then this is very re-assuring, but I'm afraid most attorneys have only a wretched view of total subjugation to the state in mind when they prosecute.

    Posted by: anon | Nov 30, 2013 11:52:24 PM


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