Monday, July 03, 2006

Atheist Acquitted In Assault Case

A press release issued last week by American Atheists reports on the acquittal of Chester (Chuck) Smalkowski by a Guymon, Oklahoma jury. Smalkowski, an atheist, was charged with criminal assault after an altercation between him and Lloyd Buckley, his daughter's high school principal. Apparently the daughter, Nicole Smalkowski, was removed from the girls' basketball team after refusing to stand in a circle with her teammates on the gymnasium floor of the Hardesty High School and recite the "Lord's Prayer." False statements about the girl were apparently used as the basis for removal. The fight between the two men broke out when Smalkowski went to accused the principal of lying about Nicole. During voir dire, defense counsel had to explain to some of the potential jurors what an "atheist" is, in order to get an accurate answer to questions about possible bias.