Wednesday, July 15, 2009



BENTON HARBOR — A southwestern Michigan minister who spent six months in prison for criticizing a judge has persuaded the state appeals court to throw out his probation violation.

The court says the free-speech rights of people serving probation can be restricted. But the court said Wednesday the ban went too far in the case of the Rev. Edward Pinkney.

Pinkney’s probation was revoked a year ago after he wrote a newspaper article blasting Berrien County Judge Alfred Butzbaugh as racist and corrupt. The black Benton Harbor minister warned that the judge could be punished by God unless he repented.

In 2007, Pinkney was convicted of paying people to vote in an election, and Butzbaugh oversaw the case.

Pinkney was released from prison in December while he appealed the probation violation.

Special Thanks to the Pan-African News Wire

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