By Editorial Staff
Published December 23, 1999
Judge: Lawyer abandoned case
By Bridget Hall, Staff Writer, Ocala Star-Banner
OCALA, FL — A federal judge has dismissed the abortion clinic’s lawsuit against local law enforcement and anti-abortion protesters, ruling that Dr. James Pendergraft’s attorney has abandoned the case.
Pendergraft’s attorney, Roy Lucas, has failed to respond to numerous motions filed since August, leaving U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges to conclude Dec. 16 that Pendergraft no longer wanted to pursue the case.
Attorneys for the city, county and anti-abortion protesters said they began asking three months ago for the case to be dismissed because Lucas was not responding to their requests or providing any information.
“The city’s position was, what is your proof that all of these horrible things you say are happening are happening, and what are your damages?” city attorney Patrick Gilligan said. “They wouldn’t produce that.”
Lucas did not respond to requests for comment, and Pendergraft’s spokeswoman Marti Mackenzie said the doctor had not yet seen the judge’s ruling.
“Dr. Pendergraft still believes his claims are valid,” Mackenzie said. “He’s anxious to talk with his attorney and see what the next step is.”
Pendergraft filed suit just over a year ago against the City of Ocala, the Ocala Police Department, Marion County and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, saying his right to equal protection under the law was violated when both law enforcement agencies denied his requests for a special duty officer to guard the Ocala Women’s Center.
Both agencies allow officers to work special security assignments in addition to their regular hours. The officers are uniformed, armed and have full arrest powers, but they are paid by the businesses that request them.
Ocala Police Chief Morrey Deen said he denied the clinic’s request because a police officer guarding the clinic could give the appearance of law enforcement taking sides in the heated abortion debate. The sheriff’s office denied the request because the clinic is within the city limits, which is OPD’s jurisdiction.
Pendergraft also sued the Rev. Ed Martin, Meredith Raney and 10 other unnamed abortion clinic protesters, saying they were harassing clinic personnel and patients.
Martin has vehemently denied the charges, saying he and the protesters are simply exercising their free speech rights on a public sidewalk. Raney said he has nothing to do with the case because he has never even been to the Ocala clinic.
“Of all of the allegations in the complaint, none of them had any resemblance to what happened,” said Martin’s attorney, Mathew Staver. “Where (Lucas) got that information was from the imagination of his own mind. When it came time for him to prove it, he couldn’t and he didn’t.”
Pendergraft, who wears a bullet-proof vest and army-style helmet to the clinic because he said he fears for his safety, filed the suit to get police protection, restrict the protesters’ activities and recover unspecified monetary damages.
Hodges ruled in April that until the case came to trial, Ocala Police could not refuse Pendergraft’s request for an officer. Pendergraft had an officer for one day, but then refused to sign OPD’s revamped contract for the special duty program.
The clinic has not had a police officer guarding it since then, Gilligan said.
Pendergraft’s suit also asked that protesters be banned from coming within 75 feet or bringing any surveillance equipment or weapons within 1500 feet of the abortion clinic.
If Pendergraft had his way, protests outside the clinic would have been limited to no more than five picketers gathering for only one hour twice a week. He also wanted the court to prevent protesters from having pictures on their signs and require the signs to carry a disclaimer saying abortion is medically safe and legal.
Hodges refused in April to impose those restrictions on the protesters until the case could come to trial, saying the protesters have acted within their First Amendment rights.
Martin said the restrictions were ridiculous — and unnecessary.
“Nobody’s ever brought a weapon,” Martin said. “We’re just out there as nonviolent protesters to something we think is wrong, and offering assistance to women going in. We’ve never had a problem with the police.”
Attorneys for the numerous defendants said they would ask the appellate court to force Pendergraft to pay for their costs from this “frivolous” lawsuit. Gilligan said the cost to the city has been at least $15,000, and Staver estimated the costs for all parties at about $75,000.
This case is the second abortion clinic lawsuit handled by Lucas to be dismissed in recent months.
In September, U.S. District Judge G. Kendall Sharp dismissed a suit by the Aware Woman Center for Choice in Orlando against CompuServe, America Online, Meredith Raney and 16 other protesters.
The suit, which Lucas filed in January for clinic owner Patricia Windle, alleged that Raney and the other protesters harassed clinic personnel and patients, using those Internet providers’ databases to get personal information about them.
Sharp dismissed that suit because, as with the Ocala Women’s Center suit, Lucas had failed to respond to several motions and serve many of the defendants with the necessary paperwork.
Forerunner - Home » Florida's Murder Industry »
Your comments are welcome!
Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?
Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.
Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!
“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l
Running Time: 40 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 40 pages of dynamite!
Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification
In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.
By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).
$7.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“… a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)