Walter Hoye

An Unjust Law Is No Law At All!

In Legal on February 22, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Greetings Everyone …

As I write this I am free.

My wife (Lori) and I want to thank all of you for supporting us!

I felt your presence as I sat in the defendant’s chair and stood before Judge Hing to be sentenced in Department 109 on the fifth (5th) floor of the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse, 661 Washington Street, Oakland, California 94607-3922, on Thursday, February 19th, 2009.

The simple sentencing hearing that was scheduled for 1:30 P.M. did not start until about 2:30 P.M. and lasted until around 4:30 P.M.

The Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) has published a press release detailing the outcome of my sentencing. As such and in the interest of our ongoing civil suit that is challenging the constitutionality of the Oakland ordinance, I am deferring all legal interpretation of my sentencing hearing to my defense team.

Please know that the defense mounted by the Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) was simply brilliant. Mike and Allison’s passion for righteousness was ablaze in the courtroom. Their expertise, experience and eloquence was unmatched by the Alameda County Assistant District Attorney (D.A.) Robert Graff who asked the Judge to sentence me to two (2) years in jail.

Please know that I want to thank Father John Malloy, SDB who has published an “eye witness account” of what transpired in the courtroom by way of his blog. Father Malloy loves Jesus Christ and is a strong voice for those that have no voice. I encourage everyone to read Father Malloy’s blog entitled: “The Extraordinary Sentencing of Walter Hoye”. You can use the link below to access Father Malloy’s blog:

Okay, now back to the sentencing hearing …

Once all the legal housekeeping was completed, Judge Hing asks both the defense and the prosecution:

“Do you have anything to say before I pronounce sentence?”

The words of Judge Hing pierce my heart as I realize I am moments away from his decision.

Next, Allison Aranda, Esq., one of my attorney’s asks the Judge for permission to have Dr. Levon R. Yuille (Director of the National Black Pro-Life Congress, Ypsilanti, Michigan), Pastor Stephen Edwards Broden (Fair Park Bible Fellowship, Dallas, Texas) and Pastor Dion Evans (Chosen Vessels Christian Church, Alameda, California) speak on my behalf.

Judge Hing graciously grants our request and the words of each man strengthen my heart.

To fully appreciate how much this moment impacted me, you have to understand that during the thirteen (13) days of my trail I sat in the defendant’s chair listening to false accusations, the vilification of my character and arguments on why my freedom should be taken away from me.

Today, however, is different.

Today, the courtroom and the hallways are packed with the saints of God standing with my wife (Lori) and I.

Today, God’s own from around the world are praying for Lori and I, as we stand ready to receive Judge Hing’s decision.

Today I have three (3) African-American Pastors (my brothers) standing up and speaking up for me and as they spoke I felt Heaven’s strength rising in my heart.

Today is different, because after each of my brothers stood up and spoke up on my behalf, it will finally be my turn to speak.

Today is different, because during my trial I let four (4) hours of video covering both days in question (April 29th, 2008 and May 13th, 2008) speak for me.

Today is different, because today, I will stand before Judge Hing and speak for myself.

This is what I said:

Your Honor, I believe an unjust law is no law at all.

I believe the law that I have been convicted of is an unjust law.

It is my intention to continue my efforts to save the life of the unborn child by reaching out to the men and women going into the abortion clinic with the love of Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour.

If you are asking me if I will carry a tape measure with me, I will not.

I will, however, do my best to comply with this unjust law until the completion of the ongoing civil case that is challenging the constitutionality of the law.

I thanked Judge Hing for allowing me to speak and sat down.

Again, Judge Hing asks me to accept his terms of probation.

And again, I refuse to agree to give up my constitutionally guaranteed free speech rights.

In the end Judge Hing refused to accept my refusal and sentenced me to:

  • Three (3) years of probation which terms include a one hundred (100) yard stay away order from 200 Webster Street Clinic, in Oakland, California.
  • A $130.00 fee of some sort, plus a $1,000.00 fine for a total of $1,130.00.
  • A suspended thirty (30) day jail sentence that could be completed by serving thirty (30) days in jail, or by completing the sheriff’s work program or by volunteering serve the community in a court approved program.

However, I meant what I said …

I believe an unjust law is no law at all.

I believe this law, the law that I have been convicted of violating, is an unjust law.

In his 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote:

“You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws.

One may well ask: ‘How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?’

The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws.

One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all”.

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.

To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal .law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.

All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority.

Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an “I-it” relationship for an “I-thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful.

Paul Tillich said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man’s tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.

Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal.

Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama, which set up that state’s segregation laws, was democratically elected?

Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application.

For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance, which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.

I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out.

In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty.

I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.”

Like Saint Augustine, I believe “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I believe Christians have a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.

Judge Hing, with all due respect, I meant what I said in court.

Judge Hing, with all due respect, I refuse to agree to your terms of probation.

Judge Hing, with all due respect, I refuse to give up my constitutionally guaranteed free speech rights.

Judge Hing, with all due respect, it is my intention to continue my efforts to save the life of the unborn child by reaching out to the men and women going into the abortion clinic with the love of Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour.

Judge Hing, with all due respect, if you are asking me if I will carry a tape measure with me, I will not.

Judge Hing, with all due respect, I will, however, do my best to comply with this unjust law until the completion of the ongoing civil case that is challenging the constitutionality of the law.

Judge Hing, with all due respect, I must do what I can to save my people.

Judge Hing, with all due respect, I must do what I can to stop the shedding of innocent blood.

Many have asked how can they support me financially.

If the Lord leads you to give, please give to the Life Legal Defense Foundation.

I highly recommend supporting this awesome organization.

May God bless you and keep you all.

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  1. Rev. Hoye:

    May the Lord Jesus continue to uphold you as you stand for righteousness!

  2. Rev. Hoye:
    We need more men of God to stand for truth as you have done and are doing. God bless you beyond what you can ever imagine! Thank you for being a beacon of light in a dark world!

  3. I stand with you in Jesus’ name! If more Americans stood up for what is right and just, there would not be so much injustice going on in our legal system. May God bless you and your family and may He give you strength and peace. I live in Oklahoma, and so far, we have not had troubles such as yours, however, we have our share of unjust laws. I hope and pray God is willing to get these abortion clinics closed and more women wake up and quit killing their babies. My prayers go with you and your family.

    Your sister in Christ,
    Paula

  4. Dear Rev. Hoye and Lori,
    Please know that our family is praying for you. Thank you for standing for righteousness and speaking up for the unborn. May the Lord bless you and protect you and may this unjust sentencing light an awakening across this country!

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