Jury Nullification

Jurors Convict Man for Telling Jurors About Jury Nullification

Handing out pamphlets gets treated as a crime.

|

jury nullification
FIJA.org

Jurors in Mecosta County, Michigan, have convicted a man for telling potential jurors that they don't have to convict people.

In 2015, Keith Wood stood outside a district courthouse in Big Rapids handing out pamphlets to passers-by. The literature explained the concept of jury nullification—the idea that jurors have the right to refuse to convict people of breaking laws they believe are unjust. Wood and his lawyer contend that distributing these pamphlets is protected free speech.

Prosecutors disagreed. Wood was convicted Thursday of attempting to influence a jury, a misdemeanor charge that could lead to a sentence of up to a year in jail.

The court was selecting only one jury that day, for the trial of an Amish man charged with draining wetlands on his property. And that man decided to plead guilty, so no jury was seated anyway. But prosecutors argued that the very nature of such fliers taints a jury pool. As Mecosta County Assistant Prosecutor Nathan Hull told the jury, "This pamphlet from beginning to end is designed to benefit a criminal defendant."

Let that argument soak in for just a moment. Here's the kind of information that Hull worries will "benefit" the people he's trying to prosecute:

Did judges fully inform jurors of their rights in the past?

Yes, it was normal procedure in the early days of our nation, and in colonial times. And if the judge didn't tell them, the defense attorney often would. America's founders realized that trials by juries of ordinary citizens, fully informed of their powers as jurors, would confine the government to its proper role as the servant, not the master, of the people.

Our third president, Thomas Jefferson, put it like this: "I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution."

John Adams, our second president had this to say about the juror: "It is not only his right, but his duty…to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court."

Sadly, the jury took less than an hour of deliberation to convict Wood. But perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. The judge apparently prevented Wood's lawyer from offering any sort of First Amendment–based defenses. Because of the judge's behavior, Wood's jury received only limited information—a practice, interestingly enough, that the nullification pamphlet warns about. If only somebody been handing them out when they were seating Wood's jury. Wood's lawyer says they'll appeal the verdict.

Bonus link: For more from Reason on this case, go here. And go here to read about the time I got called in for jury duty and was put in the awkward position of correcting a judge's assumption that I would enforce the law regardless of whether I agreed with it. Guess who was the first person dismissed from the jury pool?

Advertisement

NEXT: States' 'Climate Alliance' raises questions about the Constitution's interstate compacts clause

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Christ, what twelve assholes.

    1. angry assholes

      1. This is a serious crime that must not be tolerated. As the trial judge carefully explained in our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case, the question for the jury is not the “issue of freedom of speech under the First Amendment,” but whether the accused engaged in the criminal conduct. Surely no one here would dare to defend the “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge in that case? If jury nullification were allowed, all sort of criminals could avoid conviction by raising the absurd “constitutional” arguments of “dissenting” judges. See the documentation at:

        https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

    2. Please note, Twelve Angry Assholes is NOT about a bunch of insufferable jurors.

      1. That was the name of that “art film” that you made when you were in college, wasn’t it?

        1. Yes. It was also the precursor to the clickbait headline. The full title was Twelve Angry Assholes: You’ll Never Believe What Number Eight Does.

          1. He fixes the cable?

        2. It’s also a movie about that time Citizen X’s cats got into the freezer and ate a whole gallon of ice cream.

          1. That was the worst weekend of my life. We had to move out. The insurance company declared the house a total loss.

    3. Your average person just isn’t very bright.

  2. Well, what were the jurors supposed to do? They had to consider the law as it is written and as the judge explained it to them.

    1. If only someone could have gotten a pamphlet to them.

      1. Dammit, I just saw Shackie used that line in the article.

        1. You read the article!? Sucker.

          1. But I commented before I read it, so I’m still true to my principles.

            1. Amateurs. I don’t even reas mt owb commrbts.

    2. Did they really have no other option?

      Assuming I never heard of jury nullification, which I don’t think I had before reading about in Reason maybe two years ago, I had certainly heard of the First Amendment.

      You have a guy accused of no other “crime” than handing out a pamphlet about constitutional rights? Wouldn’t most jurors be expected to be thinking, “Do you even first amendment, bro?”

      If I’m sitting on a jury where it’s pretty obvious that a grave injustice is being done simply by having the defendant accused in the first place, I would do my best to have the case result in a hung jury.

      It’s not just for something like this, either. Look at those cases where some teenage idiot is charged with child porn for sexting some other teenage idiot. (Or worse, the kid who was charged with child porn for photographing himself.) And then there’s all kinds of drug and prostitution convictions that shouldn’t be crimes in the first place.

      If you’re going to have a case brought to trial, the prosecution should make damn sure to show the jury who the victim is. NO VICTIM means NO CRIME.

      1. You appear to be a libertarian, so you’d never be chosen to sit a jury. Hell, they probably disqualify anyone who admits to remembering any of the Bill of Rights. The judge will tell you what you need to know.

        1. Informed jurors are a threat to judges and prosecutors getting their way, so of course they’re going to do everything possible including illegal things to stop it.

          Soap box, ballot box, jury box, ammo box. If they keep it up people are going to turn to that fourth box.

          1. Rule .308 always applies. The gubment forgets this at its peril.

      2. So is jury tampering a crime from a libertarian perspective? Say there was a murder trial, and the damning piece of evidence was inadmissible because it was obtained without a warrant. What if I start handing out flyers to the jury explaining this and providing the evidence?

        I am not saying I agree with this bullshit charge, and I am a huge fan of jury nullification, but I am wondering if this jury tampering argument has teeth.

        1. As long as you aren’t threatening or trying to deceive jurors, I don’t see how it’s anything other than one private citizen talking to another in your hypothetical. If they are worried about what people might say to jurors, they can sequester the jury.

        2. I think that providing testimony about a case to the jury without the benefit of cross examination would be tampering.

          But, isn’t that what we call trying a case in the media?

          1. “I think that providing testimony about a case to the jury without the benefit of cross examination would be tampering.”

            But this isn’t really testimony is it? Because otherwise the BS jury information film the court shows you about how this is all your civic duty is offered without a defense attorney present. This is non-case specifc general legal information/commentary, that may or may not have bearing on a specific case. And if you say ‘well, that should only be offered in open court, where it can be challenged’ then fine, but then the judge doesn’t get to tell my attorney what defense he’s allowed to offer, which is the bullshittiest part of this bullshittery.

            1. Right. This pamphlet wouldn’t fall under my definition of tampering.

        3. “So is jury tampering a crime from a libertarian perspective? Say there was a murder trial, and the damning piece of evidence was inadmissible because it was obtained without a warrant. What if I start handing out flyers to the jury explaining this and providing the evidence?”

          But that’s not what happened in this case. The man was handing out political pamphlets. And he was not targeting jury members. In fact no jury ever existed. It should matter not one whit that he was exercising his free speech near a courthouse.

      3. Wouldn’t most jurors be expected to be thinking, “Do you even first amendment, bro?”

        Most jurors? No. They’d be thinking “how fast can I get out of here? Fuck that guy.”

      4. When America entered WWI to save bank loans to belligerents suddenly imperiled by Russia leaving the war after the communist revolution, one individual (according to my history textbook) hollered “down mitt Amerika” at a parade and was promptly killed by the cheering crowd. The jury turned voted an acquittal in something like five minutes.

      5. Handing out pamphlets for jury nullification is just like claiming that the 13th Amendment makes the draft unconstitutional. And is therefore dangerous speech just like shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater. So it’s not protected by the 1st Amendment.

        1. Can’t tell if you are being sarcastic or not… going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you are. Otherwise you are an idiot.

    3. The only party I vote for says: We assert the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law.
      This recalls the 1917 case of the socialist orator busted for handing out leaflets explaining that conscription was a violation of the 13th Amendment. American courts threw his ass under the prison and La Suprema Corte could “not see” how ordering boys at gunpoint into minefields under fire could possibly look compulsory to anyone. There was money at stake. Federal Reserve banks had made loans on credit to France and England confident that Russian conscripts would kill enough Huns to force a surrender. But socialists orchestrated a Soviet revolution and when communist Russia quit the War, a German victory would make those loans as worthless as Confederate dollars and soldiers’ pensions. It was the birth of Not-See-ism. Ironically, the leaflets were rimmed with swastikas.
      In Texas, lawyers and judges only select jurors who swear in advance: “A cop said it, I believe it, that settles it.”

      1. The problem with that argument is that conscription predates the constitution (at the State militia level) and the North conscripted soldiers in the Civil War. It’s not really logical to think that the 13th Amendment was intended to ban conscription. But I strongly disagree with criminalizing that argument…

        Ironically, it was the South that recognized the parallels between conscription and slavery:

        The United States first employed national conscription during the American Civil War. The vast majority of troops were volunteers; of the 2,100,000 Union soldiers, about 2% were draftees, and another 6% were substitutes paid by draftees.[5][6]

        The Confederacy had far fewer inhabitants than the Union, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis proposed the first conscription act on March 28, 1862; it was passed into law the next month.[7] Resistance was both widespread and violent, with comparisons made between conscription and slavery.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C…..ted_States

  3. Guess who was the first person dismissed from the jury pool?

    Hitler?

    1. I would like to combine Godwin’s and Betteridge’s laws and say that a question posed in any article can and should be answered with “Hitler”

    2. Guess who was the first person dismissed from the jury pool?

      At least Scott wasn’t charged with anything. He must have pulled the judge aside and stated his beliefs where no one else could hear them…

  4. I hope that this man appeals on the basis that the judge violated his first amendment rights. If the judge prevented the defense attorney from using First Amendment arguments in a court of law that is prior restraint. If judges can strip you of your First Amendment rights when you step into a court of law we need to get rid of those judges.

    1. If judges can strip you of your First Amendment rights when you step into a court of law we need to get rid of those judges.

      I think that would be all of them. Judges have a lot of control over what you can and can’t say in the courtroom. And there are probably good reasons for a lot of it.

      But it seems to me that constitutional arguments should always be allowed since the constitution is law that pertains to all other laws.

    2. Observe that the name of the judge is nowhere contained in Scott’s article. You don’t get to be a Reason writer by BEGGING a Sharia Weapons and Tactics team to kick in the door and do a Charlie Hebdo on the staff for “inciting.”

      1. Whatever you do, don’t mention the woodchipper!

  5. “Tainted Truth”, the new album from Jury Pool.

    1. Not to be confused with that new Stan Lee creation, The Taint of Truth, which is about a gritty detective with a certain lie detection skill.

  6. I was on jury duty once and the judge told us that we were required to apply the law as it is written even if we thought it was unjust. I spoke up and said that was not true and brought up jury nullification. The judge yelled at me and told me to shut up unless I was spoken to. I was not dismissed and was picked for the jury.

    1. You were picked for the jury? Was this something that didn’t require a unanimous decision so they decided to punish you?

    2. Was this a criminal case or a civil case?

  7. So, the judge used fear and violence to achieve his personal political aims……. seems like thats the verbatim definition of terrorism

    1. Terrorism, murder, robbery, and extortion are all perfectly fine – in fact, they’re awesome – if performed by the state. Did you not read the social contract before you signed it?

    2. No, I think part of the definition of terrorism (at least as used by government agents) is that it isn’t directly perpetrated by official government agents. Otherwise, most of what government does would be terrorism.

      1. most of what government does would be terrorism Change “terrorism” to “extortion”, and “would be” changes to “is”. As a prime example, who would pay taxes if the ultimate end of not paying up would be arrest at the point of a gun? Maybe it’s not terrorism, but extortion is a pretty close cousin.

        But we digress. In my experience prior to deliberating a case, the judge was pretty clear that our only concern was did he or did he not do it. period. (It was easy in that case to convict, defendant pretty much admitted to driving drunk [drunk, not just “I had a glass at dinner”], and getting that sort of dimwit off of the road is something that I am willing to agree to, even at the point of a gun if needed.) But the judge wanted to make sure that he could play god, just the same.

        1. The State … monopoly on force… something something.

          1. yeah, that’s sort of what I was going for

        2. “getting that sort of dimwit off of the road is something that I am willing to agree to”

          But what crime did he actually commit? Who was the victim? Was he involved in an accident that led to the charge? Otherwise, DUI is nothing but pre-crime bullshit. Same as drug “crimes.”

          1. Discharging a weapon into the air should be a crime even if you don’t hit someone.

            1. I live in the country. I can discharge a weapon in pretty much any direction I want and it’s not a crime unless I hit someone or damage someone’s property.

              Maybe your average person in the city knows a city is too crowded to do that, and the guy dumb enough to not realize that isn’t going to be deterred by the law anyway.

          2. This is my take on drunk driving, as unpopular an opinion as it is.

          3. This line of reasoning would allow a group of drunken idiots to throw bricks from a rooftop to the street below UNTIL someone get injured. After all “what crime did they actually commit”?

            No wonder your middle name.

            1. Is the street isolated and unused? Is it a private road? Do they have permission? Maybe it is OK.

  8. “This pamphlet from beginning to end is designed to benefit a criminal defendant.”

    Notice the loaded wording, “criminal defendant”.

    The pamphlet may be designed to benefit defendants in a criminal trial, but if the jury decides not to convict the defendant, then the defendant is not a criminal.

    1. “This pamphlet from beginning to end is designed to benefit a criminal defendant.”

      And so is the entire concept of a legal defense. Did this judge also dictate that the trial should involve only lawyers for the prosecution and no defense attorneys?

      I sincerely hope this conviction gets overturned on appeal. It’s beyond ridiculous.

    2. I’m not a lawyer and could be wrong. But I think that “criminal defendant” just means the defendant in a criminal trial.

      1. He’s saying that it’s meant to help the guilty escape conviction.

        The fact that people aren’t guilty unless a jury says so seems to have eluded him.

        The mask slipped.

    3. “This pamphlet from beginning to end is designed to benefit a criminal defendant.”

      You could say the same thing about the entire defense case. Is it not enough that the entire apparatus of the state is aligned against the defendant? Do we really want to disqualify anyone from helping the defense?

      1. Do we really want to disqualify anyone from helping the defense?

        (A state official nods approvingly.)

  9. As Mecosta County Assistant Prosecutor Nathan Hull told the jury, “This pamphlet from beginning to end is designed to benefit a criminal defendant.”

    And get a load of that attorney sitting with the criminal defendant, assisting him. I mean, where is a cop when you need one?

  10. “This pamphlet from beginning to end is designed to benefit a criminal defendant.”

    Criminal in the eyes of the state, but not the individual. You missed the point entirely you assholes.

    People just can’t imagine getting railroaded by the state or by drunkards with power. A jury is the last line of defense for that; otherwise your trial would be judged by state agents and not your peers

    1. Your peers are dumbasses who are at least as likely to be sadistic lunatics as agents of the state.

      1. Troll wrong AGAIN.

        The chance of my peers being sadistic dumbasses = 99%.
        The chance of an agent of the state being a sadistic dumbass = 100%

      2. Please define “sadistic.”

        Do you mean in the context of a consensual BDSM relationship, with a safe word and all that? If so, I might grant you that 10% or possibly a little more of my libertarian peers might be into some of that. But thanks to their belief in the Non-Aggression Principal, you have nothing to fear from them.

        But the NAP certainly doesn’t apply, nor do safe words, when it comes to agents of the state. Not to mention they always want you to be the masochist, never them.

      3. Speak for yourself.

        Also, you’re the one who think our freedoms can be rightlyrevoked at the whim of the majority (our peers) if it’s ostensibly to better ‘society.’

  11. We’re not just slipping down that slippery slope, we have fucking jet packs on!

    1. Well, at least we finally got our jetpacks.. 17 years too late.

      1. Fuck. I never got my Obama jetpack.

  12. Disgusting, and it’s clearly a first amendment issue in my opinion.

    I’ve said it for a long time that jury nullification is an intended feature of the justice system, but the justice system has a HUGE interest in making sure that the average persons beliefs, customs, and knowledge of the law isn’t taken into consideration at all.

    Can’t have a check or balance on the judiciary, after all, since they’re our masters betters guardians!

  13. I do not see how any questioning of a juror can serve any purpose than to make the jury something other than “a jury of you peers”. The questions are clearly designed to allow tailoring of the jury to reach a pre-determined verdict.
    A true impartial jury would be one made up of twelve members (plus alternates) selected at random before the trial, and then assigned at random among whatever trials are begun on any given day. Allowing rejection based on race, prior interaction with the law (victim, accused, witness, whatever), political leanings (for or against capital punishment) or whatever should be called what they are, discriminatory.

    1. The defense also gets to question the panel.

      1. Nothing Longtobefree said mentioned plaintiff or defendant. His principled point is valid. It doesn’t matter that both sides get to bias the jury.

    2. I agree w/longtube regarding random mixing, and the rationale behind the questioning OTHER than tailoring juries to their needs (both defense and persecutors, er, prosecutors)…
      .
      the 3 times I went through jury duty process, it was dog-barkingly obvious how you could tailor your answers (NOT EVEN ‘lie’) to get on the wrong side of the divide they were asking about… as der gut citizen shreck, I wanted to serve, but the one time got called, was boxed in by the ‘if he broke that law, you must convict’…
      .
      (a number of us were both ‘meh’, as far as he didn’t appear *that* incapacitated on video, and video of his driving didn’t appear *that* out of control, in that he was in a suburban neighborhood with twisty roads and cars parked on both sides, such that -forget about drinking/driving- you *had* to weave somewhat to make your way down the street… not speeding, didn’t seem reckless or endangering others, blah blah blah, but his blood alcohol was over, and cop says he was a menace to society… case closed…
      marginal thing that should prob not have gone to court, but guy was car salesman, so license getting pulled was going to fuck up his job… guess that is why he contested it…)
      .
      of course, you want to seal the deal, spew some racist, sexist, whateverist shit, and they will quietly dismiss you…
      .
      I imagine you spout some jury-nullification bullshit, you are at risk of being renditioned…
      in amerika, old-school soviet union find you ! ! !

      1. the one time got called, was boxed in by the ‘if he broke that law, you must convict’…

        Next time, just say what they want to hear.

        They can’t compel you disclose your reasoning for a “not guilty” vote after the fact.

  14. My brother recently served on a jury in a criminal case. He told me they made all the prospective jurors watch propoganda videos about how prisons were great places designed to help people with job training and drug treatment. After the vidoes they were lectured by a judge who used the opportunity like it was a campaign event. It’s just so fucked up.

    1. If I ever get called for a jury, I plan on just doing the opposite of what everyone else wants to do. I don’t really care what the crime in question is. He could have eaten a baby and I’d be like ‘yeah, so?’. Of course, since I also plan on saying ‘I absolutely believe in jury nullification’ I doubt it will ever be a problem for me.

    2. Wow. My only time on a jury was in federal district court. It was very serious, sober and there were no videos, no propaganda and very little lecturing. That was about 15 years ago. Have things changed?

  15. How can you not be allowed to claim a constitutional defense?

    1. By having a bailiff slam your face into the floor and handcuff you if you get uppity. I work in courts. I have on at least one occasion gotten out of dull civil jury duty by admitting I work in courtrooms. They whisked me away faster’n you could holler Ordinance of Nullification.

    2. A good question.
      An even more poignant one (to me) is,,, what authority do you claim that allows the LIMITATIONS stated in the 1st 10 Amendments to not apply to you? Did you not swear or affirm the Oath of Office (a legal and binding contract)?

      The Constitution is the defense. Not that the first Amendment grants you or anyone the “freedom” of expression. The Amendment clearly states that the Federal Government, their employees, and contractors can NOT legislate, decree, or “rule” beyond the statement,,, PERIOD!
      Remember, it takes a successful Amendment Process to add to, subtract from, or alter the Constitution in any manner or form.
      I agree with you. How can a Constitutional defense not be recognized?

  16. It’s only fair to allow for jury nullification if they’re going to continue to seat psychopathic morons on juries anyway.

    Jury duty was one of the worst experiences of my life.

    1. Imagine how it was for the other jurors.

      1. I wonder when Tony’s going to realize who the common denominator is in his universally unpleasant interactions with other human beings.

        1. Autistic libertarian basement-dwellers on human interaction…

          1. Still you, Tony.

    2. I’m sure if you had informed the judge you were a psycopathic moron he would’ve let you go.

  17. So is Tom Woods under indictment for writing “Nullification”?

    1. Maybe, but according to the fija.org website an aging hippie is NOW confined to the dungeon without charges because someone claims he supports jury nullification. To the looter courts, the very idea must pose a danger to asset-forfeiture of other people’s property and money. Clearly this is something potheads need to know about before they vote for any more Third Reich judge and prosecutor candidates. Conscription, btw, never ended. It is simply on hold waiting for an opportunity to shove troublemakers and their awkward questions into the line of fire or the Bastille–whichever is handiest.

      1. Really? Where does our website say that?

        Kirsten C. Tynan
        Fully Informed Jury Association

  18. Fire up the woodchipper.

    Or warm up the helicopter. I’m easy.

  19. How long, Lord, will the wicked,
    how long will the wicked be jubilant?
    They pour out arrogant words;
    all the evildoers are full of boasting.
    They crush your people, Lord;
    they oppress your inheritance.
    They slay the widow and the foreigner;
    they murder the fatherless.
    They say, “The Lord does not see;
    the God of Jacob takes no notice.”

    For the Lord will not reject his people;
    he will never forsake his inheritance.
    Judgment will again be founded on righteousness,
    and all the upright in heart will follow it.

    He will repay them for their sins
    and destroy them for their wickedness;
    the Lord our God will destroy them.

    (Psalm 94)

  20. How meta.

  21. Mr 30,2016 : Judge Dismisses Felony Charge Against Michigan Jury Rights Pamphleteer
    Keith Wood still faces a misdemeanor jury tampering charge for exercising his freedom of speech.

  22. Yes… I don’t understand why people try flimsy excuses like their employers will let them miss work (with proof) but not pay them while they’re on jury duty; all you have to do is mention the words “jury nullification” during Voir Dire and you’ll instantly be excused for the remainder of your term in the pool.

  23. When the judge restricts defendants from using their planned defense strategy, in this case a first amendment defense, there is one thing the defendant can try to counteract the judge’s order: when taking the oath “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth”, etc….the defendant could say “NO, with respect to telling the whole truth, in obeyance of the judge’s order.”

    The defendant should not tell his attorney of his plan however, because the attorney would probably advise against it. What next, is the judge going to order him to say “Yes” against his will? How will that go over with the jury?

  24. I wrote one of the tv stations that presented this and explained that the government and court were the one’s guilty, of FRAUD. Withholding evidence and not allowing the defense attorney to call witnesses or utilize the Constitutional LIMITATION on what the government can do or legislate, decree, or “rule” on in/was a CRIME!
    I mentioned in my letter that in the 40 years I’ve been called about 8 times for jury duty. Each and every time I have been asked by the judge on the second question he/she asks is, and I’m paraphrasing, “are you willing to judge this case by the written statute or MY INSTRUCTIONS ON THE LAW”. Then the 4th or 5th question is the same thing only reworded. How is this NOT jury tampering by the State or court?
    This is how all the nonsense is perpetuated. This is a direct and purposeful violation of the Oath of Office. To mislead a jurist on their duty and in this case refuse to even explore the case and what the violating pamphlet said is worse than insulting.
    I tried to frame this for the media rep that will read my letter. If they are willing to do this in a court, this blatantly misleading the jury. What do they do to you? How do you think they feel about using the media? What do you think of your own integrity when dealing with a system or individuals in the system that feel this way about their own power or the power of the State to the people?

  25. The established authorities don’t like ordinary people “questioning” their “orders” (laws).

  26. Get on juries, please, Reason readers. I, too, was “thanked and excused” because I said I didn’t believe that even the judge knew all the laws, that the laws are written by committees of politicians, are contradictory, and that I saw my role as having to vote for justice regardless of the judge’s instructions.
    A former member of the Libertarian Party of California’s Judicial Committee pointed out to me that I could have interpreted the judge’s question, “Do you think you can follow the judge’s instructions?” as meaning, “Do you think you can comprehend the judge’s instructions?” To which, I could have said, “Yes.” I still wonder whether the word “follow” was chosen for that reason, on purpose, because they know they haven’t got a leg to stand on compelling jurors to obey.
    That case was for attempted murder, and “being a felon in possession of a handgun,” which I interpreted to mean it was a three-strikes case (clearly unconstitutional being ex post facto and double-jeopardy, as well as a potential violation of the 2nd Amendment). I would have been curious to see the trial evidence and whether there was any element of self-defense, but I knew they were not going to reveal the three-strikes angle to the jury. It could have been a chance to cast a vote that really counts.
    If I get such an interesting case again, I’ll consider “following” the judge’s instructions. Otherwise, I hope to be able to ask the judge what he or she means by it. I can’t wait to hear the answer.

    1. Get on juries, please, Reason readers. I, too, was “thanked and excused” because I said I didn’t believe that even the judge knew all the laws, that the laws are written by committees of politicians, are contradictory, and that I saw my role as having to vote for justice regardless of the judge’s instructions.

      Keep your mouth shut, next time. Get on the jury and make sure justice is done.

  27. The Supreme Court decision saying that judges are not obligated to inform juries of their duty/right to nullify, is worth a read. They basically said the judge was not obligated to educate their “employers” (jurors and the public) about the jurors’ rights, rather that it is the job of jurors (and the public) to instruct judges.
    Huh. I thought public servants had duties to their employers, including, one would assume, giving good advice in one’s capacity as a judge. But I guess that means we have a green light to instruct the judge and the whole rest of the system. Voting on a jury is the only vote we have that can make an immediate difference.

  28. Everyone loves to hate on jurors, but a lot of key information missing from this article suggests that this is mainly on the judge. It’s not only that the defense was not allowed to bring up the First Amendment. Neither was the defense allowed to argue that no jurors existed, based on how jurors are defined in Michigan state law. Neither was the defense allowed to argue that no trial took place, another key element of the charge. Neither was the defense permitted to call as a witness the person who ordered the arrest. Etc. There is a whole laundry list of the judge’s bias as it manifested throughout the kangaroo court trial here:
    http://bit.ly/2rx5FkI

    Just as people here are referring to the jurors as assholes without knowing all the facts, so too were the jurors led into making a decision without all the relevant information. I hope that those of you who have fallen into this trap gain a little sympathy for the predicament that the jurors in the case were unwittingly put it.

    Kirsten C. Tynan
    Executive Director
    Fully Informed Jury Association

  29. What if the judge told you: “I’m stacking the jury against the defendant. If you swear you will convict I will impanel you.” Would you swear, then use your own opinion? Or would you refuse, making it easier for the judge to circumvent justice? Or would you join the prosecution to avoid any possible inconvenience for yourself?

    How would you prefer someone answer that question if you were the defendant? I know jury duty is an unfair imposition on your freedom, but so is govt. We can try to ignore it but it won’t leave us alone. So what strategy will be best to stop govt.? 1. Resist. 2. Go along to get along. 3. Avoid taking a stand.

    Which will benefit you more, in the long run?

    1. I would absolutely lie my fucking ass off, no doubt about it. I’d tell the creep whatever he wanted to hear, and when I got impaneled I’d simply do what I want. Wouldn’t bother me at all. Some people might find that “wrong” or “unethical”, but those people are pussies. Fuck ’em.

      As for what I’d want, I ‘d want the exact same thing. Lie your ass off, then do the right thing. Pretty simple.

      1. Potential Terrorist Citizen Report
        SUBJECT: “Drake”
        WEB SITE: Reason
        POST DATE/TIME: 6.4.17 @ 11.15PM

        Potential Terrorist of Interest “Drake” has admitted in this post to a conspiracy to subvert federal law, jury tampering, suborning testimony, threatening mass rape, and -most serious of all- calling a pussy a pussy.

        The Deep State
        ‘We never forget, we never forgive.’

        THREAT LEVEL: THEY’RE ALL PEDO TERRORISTS ! ! !
        DISPOSITION: Marked for re-education camp duty when Operation Final Solution is enacted.
        HOBBIES: craft brewing, koi pond, and posting treasonous shit on the tubes.

  30. I got removed last time because I didn’t agree that a cops testimony should be accepted as 100% truth.

    1. That’s why you should’ve just lied. Once you got in, you could do whatever you wanted. Not a damn thing they could’ve done about it. Remember that next time… 😉

      1. Precisely. Nobody can compel a juror to disclose his reasoning for his vote.

  31. I hope that this man appeals on the basis that the judge violated his first amendment rights. If the judge prevented the defense attorney from using First Amendment arguments in a court of law that is prior restraint. If judges can strip you of your First Amendment rights when you step into a court of law we need to get rid of those judges.

    My recent post: Review Trust Review
    My recent post: WPDigiPro Review

  32. Multiple layers of statist bullshit in this article:

    The court was selecting only one jury that day, for the trial of an Amish man charged with draining wetlands on his property.

    You can’t tell people about jury notification.

    You can’t control drainage on your own property.

    Shut up, citizen, they explained.

  33. Bonus link: For more from Reason on this case, go here. And go here to read about the time I got called in for jury duty and was put in the awkward position of correcting a judge’s assumption that I would enforce the law regardless of whether I agreed with it. Guess who was the first person dismissed from the jury pool?

    I don’t believe it’s morally wrong to lie to the devil. Say whatever you need to to get on the jury, then vote your conscience. It’s your duty to make sure your view is represented in defense of some poor schlub like Kieth Wood.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.