Keep New Times Free

Michael Salman Might Get More Jail Time, as the Pastor Just Can't Seem to Follow Laws

See also: Michael Salman wants to build a church in his backyard. His neighbors aren't buying it
See also: Michael Salman Is
Not in Jail for Having Bible Studies in His Home

Pastor Michael Salman -- the ex-gang member and convicted felon who's currently serving a 60-day jail sentence after being found guilty of 67 misdemeanors -- is facing even more jail time.

That's because Salman has an apparent problem following laws and rules, and is accused of violating his probation and not paying more than $10,000 in fines.

Salman, who's been passing off a story on the public about being sentenced to jail for hosting Bible studies on his home, could have to serve the time of his probation -- three years -- in jail.

Really, that's not even that much time for Salman, who served nearly six years in prison for a drive-by shooting. He didn't even have to serve extra time for being caught with LSD while in the slammer, or the time he was booked into jail for impersonating a police officer.

Salman's getting free legal help from the Rutherford Institute -- a civil-liberties organization -- and the group is posting updates on what's going on with Salman.

According to the attorneys, Salman was in court yesterday "on charges that he violated his probation by continuing to hold Bible studies on his private property after being ordered not to have more than 12 people gathered on his property at any one time, and that he failed to pay more than $10,000 in related fines."

Again, Salman's not following laws.

This started when Salman told the City of Phoenix twice that he wasn't building a church in his backyard, then went ahead and built a church in his backyard.

Salman was found responsible for 96 civil code violations in the building of his church, most of them related to how much of a fire hazard the building was.

Salman and his supporters continue to tell a tale about how he's being persecuted for his religion -- so much so that the city has actually put out a fact sheet explaining Salman's disregard for city ordinances, his decision to ignore the repeated warnings from the city, and how this whole mess has absolutely nothing to do with Salman's religion.

Salman told the city in 2007 that he was building a garage in his backyard. He did not build a garage in his backyard.

"Mr. Salman had regular gatherings of up to 80 people," the city says. "He held services twice a week and collected a tithe at the services. The building that he held services in had a dais and chairs were aligned in a pew formation.  He held himself out as a being a church through the media (Harvest Christian Church) and claimed a church status for tax exemption purposes on his property."

Then Salman got a permit to have a "game room" in his backyard -- one that said "[a]ny other occupancy or use (business, commercial, assembly, church, etc.) is expressly prohibited."

Again, church.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

As for Salman's probation violation, whether he has to serve extra time -- and if so, how much time -- will be decided in a future court hearing.

For now, Salman's lawyers say the convict is locked up in Tent City.

They plan on appealing Salman's case in federal court, which has been attempted unsuccessfully multiple times in the past.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.