Civil Liberties

Fully Isolated Jury Association

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Many libertarians embrace ye olde Anglo-Saxon belief that it is the jury's power and responsibility to judge the law as well as the facts–which is a quick way to get them kicked off juries when they reveal it, but that's not the point right now. The point is that courts tend to get really, really mad at people who inform/remind potential jurors of this power and responsibility. And in Florida, Judge Belvin Perry Jr. of the Ninth Judicial Circuit this week issues an order insisting that:

restriction upon expressive conduct and the dissemination of leaflets and other materials containing written information tending to influence summoned jurors as they enter the courthouse is necessary to serve the State's compelling interest in protecting the integrity of the jury system;

and thus Judge Perry has barred

dissemination of all leaflets and other materials to summoned jurors containing written or pictorial information tending to influence summoned jurors, as well as approaching a summoned juror for the purpose of displaying a sign to, or engaging in oral protest, education or counseling with information tending to influence summoned jurors…on the Orange County Courthouse complex grounds….which includes the adjacent courthouse parking garage, the courthouse courtyard, and all other grounds surrounding the courthouse…

Since it is difficult to know beforehand who is or isn't a summoned juror on a courthouse ground, this in effect shuts up any communication with anyone on this significant matter of judicial philosophy. (We aren't talking about gentlemen, say, telling a juror that you'd best acquit Sammy the Snake if youse knows what's good for youse.)

The Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) is annoyed.

I've written in the past about the case of Antonio Musumeci, who had his camera taken for shooting on courthouse grounds. (His right to shoot was vindicated in court.) What he was shooting was police harassment of FIJA activist Julian Heicklen. Heicklen himself, according to his website Tyranny Fighter, has now been charged with jury tampering by a court in the Southern District of New York and after failing to show up for a hearing on the matter, has a warrant out for his arrest.