Judges and prosecutors hate the fact that more Americans are becoming aware of the doctrine of “jury nullification.” They will flat-out lie and tell you it doesn’t exist, ignoring centuries of precedent.
Basically, the concept is that juries can decide that certain laws are unjust and refuse to convict the defendant, even though the prosecution has presented sufficient evidence. (Petty drug offenses come to mind.)
TV news mostly ignores this subject, because reporters hang on every word of police spokesmen, prosecutors, judges and certain high-profile defense attorneys. But …
In Mecosta County, Michigan, a man faces charges of obstruction of justice and jury tampering for handing out flyers about nullification in front of the courthouse. Obstruction is a felony carrying a possible five-year prison sentence.
After meeting a ridiculously high bond of $150,000, Keith Wood told Fox 17 he was “speechless”; his lawyer wasn’t.
“It’s just a blatant illegal improper use of government power to squelch a person’s Constitutional rights of free speech, that’s what it is,” said Dave Kallman. “There has to be pushback, and judges and prosecutors and people need to know: You cannot squelch people’s free speech rights and get away with it.”
Judges who harass citizens with crap like this are raising the profile of the Fully Informed Jury Association, which supplied the pamphlets Mr. Wood distributed.
From the FIJA.org website: “On the rare occasion when juror rights educators are arrested, that usually makes a big splash in the news. But when they are exonerated … the media is much less interested. This can leave potential educators, as well as the general public, with the mistaken impression that our work is in some way illegal.”
Luckily for us, voting judges out of office isn’t illegal either.