Trial date set for street preacher
August 31, 2005
Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer
The trial of a Portales street preacher accused of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest has been set for Jan. 27.
Shawn Miller, 33, was arrested on April 17. Roosevelt County Magistrate Court Judge Jane Martin is presiding over the case and presided over Miller’s pre-trial conference on Wednesday afternoon.
Miller was released in early August from the Roosevelt County Detention Center after more than three months in custody. He posted a $3,000 appearance bond.
Miller is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Portales Police Department officer Charles Smart was dispatched at 11:05 a.m. on April 17 in reference to a subject yelling at passing vehicles.
Miller repeatedly told Smart he didn’t have to listen to him because he was preaching the word of God and wasn’t doing anything wrong, according to the police incident report. Miller walked away from the police officer and continued yelling out at vehicles when he was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Authorities have said Miller's preaching was creating a disturbance to passing motorists, and he was arrested because he did not give a responding officer any opportunity to remedy the situation.
On Wednesday, Miller said he doesn’t believe he was treated fairly during his arrest. He said he had to sit in jail for 109 days.
“If it wasn’t for the ACLU, I’d still be in jail,” Miller said. “The whole thing is a joke. I thank God for my wife. I give my wife a lot of credit for believing in me. She kept calling and e-mailing the ACLU.”
Miller has at times held a sign and preached on the Roosevelt County Courthouse in front of Portales City Hall. Miller chants his messages to drivers on First Street. He said his sign reads, “Where is God in Portales?”
“We have constitutional rights,” Miller said. “I was not doing anything. I wasn’t bothering anybody. I had never been arrested until I got to this town.”
Miller said jail wasn’t a “pleasant” place to be in, but he kept his faith in God.
“The whole experience concerned me,” Miller said. “God revealed himself to me while I was in jail and encouraged me. God has blessed me and my family.”