Pastor Strat Goodhue and his wife, Doreen Goodhue, were unconstitutionally ordered to leave a Maui County public sidewalk where they were distributing religious literature.
Maui County is again in federal court, accused of violating the free speech rights of a Maui pastor and his wife. In October, Pastor Strat Goodhue and his wife, Doreen, were peacefully handing out religious materials on the public sidewalk outside the Maui Fair when a Maui Police Department Officer ordered them to leave. When Pastor Goodhue asked a second Officer whether this was legal, the officer replied that it was – and, worse, that Pastor and Mrs. Goodhue could also be ejected from other public sidewalks nearby (including in front of the police station) if they attempted to distribute religious literature.
The Goodhues did as instructed by the police, but had strong concerns about the actions of MPD and sought legal help from Davis Levin Livingston and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU of Hawaii).
Davis Levin Livingston Attorney, Matthew Winter, stated: “The fact is that the sidewalk is public space, and under the First Amendment, all are free to express their opinions there. While government may set some restrictions on the time, place and manner of speech in order to protect public safety, they are not allowed to unilaterally squash the voice of peaceful, law abiding demonstrators. Pastor and Mrs. Goodhue did the right thing in obeying the commands of MPD Officers, but those commands were unconstitutional – and so today we are in court to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.”
This is the second federal lawsuit charging First Amendment violations that has faced Maui County in just a few months.