Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 19, 1955

Developments In Rome

Clint R. Paden, Rome, Italy

Elders at West Erwin Tyler, Texas Dear Brethren:

April 15, 1955

"For these reasons we plead not guilty."

There will be no quick decision in this case. Judge Bruno Bruno's task is to determine what action will be taken in the future. There are three possible alternatives:

1. He can, without a formal trial, declare that I have violated no law and dismiss the case against me.

2. He can, without any trial, send the entire case to the archives and thus avoid taking any stand either for or against us.

3. He can recommend that the case be tried before the Tribunal.

It is my understanding that he must take one of the three courses mentioned above. If he should take the first alternative, our right to the sign will be established individually, or in fact. We could have the sign because affixing such a sign violates no law.

If he should take the second alternative, we could have the sign but would have no proof that we had a right to it, nor would it protect us against future police action.

If he should take the third alternative and send the case before the Tribunal for a formal trial there are several possible outcomes.

1. We could win and thus bring to a victorious climax this long struggle for the sign.

There will be no trial on April 19. The case originally scheduled to be heard in the Pretura (a low court) has been transferred to the Tribunal in the Palace of Justice and placed in the hands of Investigating Judge Bruno Bruno who will decide what course the case will take from this point, after he has completed his investigations.

I have already been called 'before Judge Bruno for questioning. He read the charges against me (violation of Article 113 T.U. of the Public Security Laws) and asked me what plea I wished to make. I told him that I plead "not guilty" and at his suggestion set forth my reasons for making such a plea. These reasons, as given to him, follow:

"We made application to the Municipal authorities for the sign in July 1953. The application included: Three notarized photographs of the lettering of the sign; three notarized photographs of the front of the church building with the position of the sign indicated in writing; a scale drawing of the building with the sign's position indicated on the wall; plus a written description of the sign as to its nature, size and purpose.

"The first sign was put up when the government granted us the license to do so and accepted our payment of taxes. Several months later (in February, 1954) police removed the sign.

"We took the question to court and in December, 1954, the magistrate gave us his decision in which the action of the police was called 'illegitimate' and affirmed our right to affix the sign. On the basis of this opinion we affixed the second sign which was immediately removed by the same police.

"We waited until the magistrates decision had been reviewed by an Investigating Judge. When this sentence had been handed down, after review of the Attorney General, we affixed the third sign. It, too, was removed by the police. We then asked and obtained the opinions of some noted jurists concerning the value of the sentence of the Investigating Judge. These opinions gave us every right established by the court.

"So we affixed another sign. While police were in the Process of removing it also, they received orders to allow it to remain where it is at the present time.

"We have had a definite reason for affixing each sign. The first sign was erected because we received a license to so affix it.

"The second sign was erected after a magistrate judge upheld our rights to it. The third sign was erected after an 18 page sentence of the Investigating Judge called the police action `illegitimate' and specified that we had violated no law in replacing the sign.

"The fourth sign was placed after we had obtained opinions of noted Italian Jurists who expressed themselves as being fully in sympathy with the findings of the Investigating Judge.

1. We could win and the State could appeal to a higher court. (In such a case it is not definite until the sentence is given to which court we could appeal. If the verdict is one thing we could only appeal to the Court of Appeals. If another type verdict is given, then we could appeal to the court of Cassation — Italy's highest. I do not understand the difference in the two possible verdicts. The lawyer has tried to explain it and I cannot understand just what it is all about. It is a question of "right" and "merit," however.

2. We could lose and appeal to a higher court, either the Court of Appeals, or directly to Cessation, depending on the type of ruling made by the Tribunal.

As you see, their system is quite different from ours. The lawyer said today that he didn't expect me to understand all this (he said this after he had tried for an hour to make me understand) when he had to study eight years before he could understand. I think that it would take me longer than eight years!!

I wonder if TIME published any letters relative to the article about the sign? We get only the international edition and thus far there has not been another word about it. We might ought to start a letter writing campaign to TIME!!

I will keep you informed on the latest developments.

In mutual service, Cline R. Paden