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Posted at 12:41 PM ET, 05/14/2010

Pr. Geo. won't appeal court ruling

By Washington Post editors

Prince George's County officials have decided not to appeal a court ruling that awarded a Laurel church $3.7 million in 2008 after deciding that the county discriminated against the church, Jonathan Mummolo reports.

Reaching Hearts International, a Seventh-day Adventist church, had alleged that the county unfairly tried to thwart its plan to build a sanctuary on 17 acres in Laurel. In its lawsuit, the church argued that officials used zoning regulations "to keep African American churches out" of the county -- an allegation the county denied in court.

Jurors for the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt found that the county's actions were motivated at least in part by discriminatory intent against a religious institution.

In a letter dated April 19 and obtained by the Washington Post , County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) wrote to County Council Chairman Thomas E. Dernoga (D-Laurel) that he opposed seeking an appeal. Johnson wrote, "In view of the fact that the County has failed to prevail on every level of appeal...I believe this case should not be pursued any further. ...I cannot and will not continue to be a party to this action which has already caused this church so much injury."

Visit Maryland Politics for more on this story.

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By Washington Post editors  | May 14, 2010; 12:41 PM ET
Categories:  Maryland  | Tags:  Church, Jack B. Johnson, Prince George, Prince George's County Maryland, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Washington Post  
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