High Court to Trial Pastor’s Virus Case

Louisiana’s Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will hear arguments in a pastor’s fight against criminal charges he faces for violating pandemic gathering limits that went into effect last year.

Tony Spell attracted national attention when he began implementing the state’s public health order in March 2020 at a time when much of the country was under lockdown due to the emergence of COVID-19. Louisiana was hit particularly hard at the time, but hundreds of people showed up to hear Spell’s claim that the virus, which has now killed more than 780,000 American nothing to worry about.

A state judge earlier this year declined to bring charges against Spell, who has Church of Life Tabernacle located in the Baton Rouge area.

An appeals court agreed. But the state’s Supreme Court accepted the case for argument Tuesday. A hearing date has not yet been set.

Governor John Bel Edwards in March 2020 issued a public health ban on gatherings of more than 50 people to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Spell has long argued that Edwards’ virus restrictions violated First Amendment guarantees of religious freedom. While battling the criminal charges, Spell is also seeking damages due to the restrictions in federal court. High Court to Trial Pastor’s Virus Case


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