Thursday, January 29, 2015

Court Issues Enforcement Orders To Assure Jehovah's Witnesses Access To Puerto Rico Urbanizations

In Watchtower Bible Tract Society of N.Y. Inc. v. Municipality of El Dorado, (D PR, Jan. 26, 2015), a Puerto Rico federal magistrate judge issued broad remedial orders in an attempt to force reluctant gated communities ("urbanizations") in Puerto Rico to comply with prior orders to give Jehovah's Witnesses access so they can engage in door-to-door proselytization. One community in El Dorado allowed Jehovah's Witnesses entry, but barred their knocking on residents' door.  Another community continued to deny entry to Jehovah's Witnesses.  The decision made clear that it is the responsibility of municipalities to ensure compliance by individual neighborhoods.  The court threatened to have the gates of the community forcibly opened if access was not granted.  The magistrate judge also recommended that the municipality be held in contempt and fined $5000.