When Florida’s agriculture commissioner and Democratic candidate for governor, Nikki Fried, tweeted about a 13-year-old girl being arrested at a July 4th pro-choice rally in Lakeland, Florida, Orlando federal criminal defense attorney David Haas quickly responded with an offer to represent her pro bono. The following day, Haas tweeted that he had spoken with the family and will be representing Lillie “Rain” Johnson.
Lillie was taken into police custody after using a megaphone to amplify pro-abortion chants at the Lakeland protest. The young teen was charged with a 2nd degree misdemeanor for a noise ordinance violation.
While the Lakeland Police said he couldn’t comment on the incident because of provisions in the Florida Public Records Act that protect juveniles, Commissioner Fried, had a lot to say on the matter. On July 5th, Fried’s campaign tweeted: “Florida doesn’t have to be like this. This young woman is an inspiration. Let’s give her a better, freer future.” In an interview with WFLA, Tampa News Channel 8, she added, “She wasn’t hurting anybody. . . . She wasn’t attacking anybody. She wasn’t being violent. She was speaking out about something that is going to impact her life.”
In the same interview, Lillie told reporters that being arrested had actually encouraged her “more to fight for the freedom of anybody and everybody. No matter what, no matter who.” Her mother added, “It’s important to use your voice and to use it peacefully and appropriately, and I’m just so proud because that’s exactly what she [Lillie] did.”
Orlando defense attorney David Haas looks forward to fighting the charges against Lillie. As a former federal prosecutor with a long record of success defending against state and federal charges in Florida and across the country, he is well prepared to fight for her right to raise her voice in protest against laws and court decisions she doesn’t agree with. Haas wholeheartedly believes in fighting to protect our First Amendment rights and is honored to be representing Lillie “Rain” Johnson.