Mall is private property, says Georgia court
Associated Press, 1. Dec. 98
MARIETTA, Ga. — A Cobb County Superior Court judge ruled yesterday that a Stone Mountain man has no right to preach in a mall food court.
Judge James G. Bodiford, citing previous decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court and the Georgia Supreme Court, ruled against Mark Cahill, 36, who had sued the management of Town Center at Cobb in Kennesaw. Cahill claimed his free-speech rights were violated when he was stopped from preaching on mall property.
Cahill, who says witnessing for Jesus Christ is what he does for a living, had asked the court to declare large shopping malls "the functional equivalent of the modern town square."Court decisions have held that malls are private property and management has the right to prohibit solicitation and political activity. Bodiford said Town Center applies its policy against solicitation uniformly and Cahill wasn’t singled out for his religious beliefs.
Cahill declined to comment. His attorney could not be reached.
Mark Kelley, the mall management’s attorney, said the judge adopted the defense’s primary argument, that the issue was settled by the state Supreme Court in a 1990 case involving Gwinnett Place mall.