Jury Nullification

Michigan Juror Rights Pamphleteer Free From Jail Pending His Appeal

Keith Wood argues that his distribution of flyers was protected by the First Amendment.

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FIJA

Keith Wood, the Michigan activist who was sentenced to jail last week for handing out pamphlets on the sidewalk in front of the Mecosta County courthouse, was freed on Friday pending his appeal of his jury tampering conviction. Judge Eric Janes granted an emergency stay of Wood's sentence, which includes eight weekends in jail as well as six months of probation, 120 hours of community service, and $545 in fines, after considering the arguments that his attorney, David Kallman, is raising on appeal, which include the trial judge's refusal to allow a First Amendment defense.

Kallman argues that Wood's distribution of Your Jury Rights: True or False?, a flyer published by the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA), was constitutionally protected speech. The FIJA pamphlet argues that jurors have the right to judge the law as well as the facts of a case and to acquit a defendant in the interest of justice even when he is guilty according to the judge's instructions regarding the law.

"By prosecuting Mr. Wood," Kallman said in his 2015 motion to dismiss, "the State is engaged in nothing less than tyranny and oppression. Few legal principles are more clear than the one stating that 'handing out leaflets in the advocacy of a politically controversial viewpoint…is the essence of First Amendment expression.'" After refusing to dismiss the jury tampering charge against Wood on First Amendment grounds, Judge Kimberly Booher told Kallman he could not mention the issue to the jury, which convicted Wood last month.

Kallman also maintains that Booher erred by prohibiting him from arguing that Wood could not be guilty of trying to "influence the decision of a juror in any case by argument or persuasion" because there was no case to influence. The only case pending at the courthouse on the day Wood distributed the flyers, which involved a man accused of illegally filling a wetland on his own property, was settled by a guilty plea that day.

Kallman likewise says Booher should have let him argue that none of the passers-by to whom Wood gave pamphlets could have qualified as a juror. "We argued, and the Michigan Supreme Court has agreed in earlier case precedent, that a person is not a juror until sworn in to serve on a jury in a case," he says. Since no jury was ever chosen in the wetland case, Kallman argues, there were no jurors to persuade.

Kallman says an assistant prosecutor asked Judge Janes for a gag order that would have prohibited Kallman and Wood from publicly discussing the case. "She was very upset with the media attention given this case and did not want me talking with the media," Kallman says. "The judge dismissed the request out of hand."

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  1. I have nothing but kind words and peaceful thoughts for the good judge.

    1. I guess that means there is a special place in heaven for him.

      1. Seriously, though, it seems as if the First Amendment is one of those things that is still mostly respected by many judges. Let’s hope it stays that way for a long time (meaning until millenial SJWs start putting on robes).

      2. “I guess that means there is a special place in heaven for him”

        Yes, it’s just at the end of the street paved with good intentions.

    2. I have nothing but a woodchipper.

  2. So if I’m reading this correctly, the state of Michigan:
    – threw a man in prison for exercising a constitutionally protected right
    – forbade him from mentioning that right in defense at his trial
    – convicted him of jury tampering when there was never a jury to begin with
    – tried to forbid him from talking about the case publicly, which again is a constitutionally protected right.

    Does that about cover it?

    1. Throw in a fine for loitering in a public place, and the circle will be complete.

      1. And then, after years in court and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, they’ll throw out all the charges except for resisting arrest.

    2. I forgot the point about being forbidden to defend himself on the basis that there was no jury in the jury tampering case.

      1. It’s like a koan.

        1. What is the sound of one judge crapping?

    3. Does that about cover it?

      I would presume that he wasn’t allowed to enter the pamphlet he was distributing as evidence either.

    4. Excellent, Sir!! You get a GOld Star for your very astute comprehension of the salient aspects of this case.

      Seriously, would this “learned” judge were half so intelligent.. or maybe it would be honest.

      Words have meanings, and meanings have consequences. This hanging judge is as corrupt as they come, and needs to be debenched then disbarred. And made to pay this man’s legal and other costs arising from her tyranny.

  3. “She was very upset with the media attention given this case and did not want me talking with the media,”

    Translation: I’m trending on twitter and not in a good way.

  4. Meanwhile, across Michigan’s southern border is a land where the state constitution itself explicitly says:

    In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts.

    Unfortunately, this information is not available to the courts of Michigan because no one sent to this hellish anarchy has ever returned…

    1. Windsor, Ontario?

      Also, dude, tyranny is the opposite of anarchy.

      1. Tyranny, anarchy, whatever. What’s important is that roving gangs of jurors are even today sweeping across the Indiana countryside refusing to convict people against their conscience.

        It is only a matter of time before they range into Michigan and refuse to rubber stamp legislatures, prosecutors, and judges there too!

  5. Judge Kimberly Booher told Kallman he could not mention the issue to the jury

    Talk about an appropriate name.

    1. You know who else had an appropriate name?

      1. *** scratches head ***

        Allah?

      2. Kimbo Slice?

      3. Native American folk?

      4. Captain Caveman?

      5. Doomcock

      6. Maxx Power?

      7. The Long Island Lolita?

      8. Everybody here who had a nickname in college?

      9. Hitler? I mean he was literally Hitler!

  6. the trial judge’s refusal to allow a First Amendment defense.

    With all due respect, how about a “Fuck you!” defense?

    1. That was the judge’s offense.

      1. this judge IS an offense.

  7. I never understood how a judge could tell a defendant what defense they could use. Just a another reason to sh…… I mean to woodchipper judges.

  8. How many more judges and prosecutors must suffer before someone finally stops this person?

    1. All of them. Every. last. one.

  9. Advice to libertarian jurors:
    Just vote not guilty and never say why. If the other jurors try to press you, say you have reasonable doubts.
    Of course, this is theory, I have never made it to a jury. Something about a longhair kid doesn’t sit with a prosecutor in a weed case. Something about an old fogey looking “dazed, confused, and prone to wander” does it after you retire.
    A really simple one is to claim law enforcement relatives.

    1. All you need to do to get out of Jury Duty is reveal you are marginally more intelligent than a goldfish. Lawyers don’t like people they can’t lead around by the nose.

      My husband got dismissed after the following exchange:

      Prosecutor: If you need to meet three requirements to be convicted and two can be proven, could you assume the third is true too.

      Husband: Uh… isn’t that your job to prove it?

      Prosecutor: Next.

    2. I’ve been waiting 42 years to be called to jury duty. I wonder if I’m on some list …

      1. In California all it took to get out of jury duty was answering that I could not follow the judge’s instructions if I disagreed with them or with the law.

        That was soon after I arrived in the state. I haven’t been asked back in the many years since. I presume I’m on some list because I drive and always vote.

        1. in that state, add to your list owning a gun, or even WANTING to own one, and you’ll be exempt for life.

          Whatever happened to the concept of a jury of your PEERS? That means folks like you… same social and economic class. Or lack thereof.

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