Michigan

It Took a Jury 9 Minutes to Decide a Man Could Legally Blast 'Fuck tha Police' Near an Officer

The deputy said he took issue with the word "fuck" in the song despite using it himself moments earlier.

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|||EDUARDO MUNOZ/REUTERS/Newscom
EDUARDO MUNOZ/REUTERS/Newscom

This week, a jury found a Michigan man not guilty for blasting an anti-police anthem in the presence of an officer.

In June, an Oakland County sheriff's deputy pulled Dejuante Franklin over in front of a gas station for a traffic violation. While handing Franklin his ticket, NWA's "Fuck tha Police" began to play in the background. As it turns out, James Webb, who did not know Franklin, witnessed the stop. He decided on his own accord to turn the song up louder before walking into the gas station store. When he exited, the officer slapped him with a ticket for misdemeanor noise violation, citing that Webb played the song at an "extremely high volume."

Webb faced a $500 fine and 93 days in jail. He contested that the officer was more upset by the song choice and less upset by the volume. Rather than paying the fine, Webb took the matter to court.

Despite the officer's reasoning, a jury absolved Webb of wrongdoing on Monday. Following nine minutes of deliberation, the jury found Webb not guilty of violating a noise ordinance.

Prior to the verdict, the deputy said that he took issue with the vulgarity of the word "fuck" in the song. However, Nicholas Somberg, a lawyer who represented Webb pro bono, said that a video from the initial traffic stop showed the officer using the same word with Franklin. Because of this and the circumstances leading to the ticket, Webb believed that this was a free speech issue.

When asked what he would say to the officer who ticketed him, Webb told FOX 2 Detroit, "I don't know, just same as the song would say. Sorry. Sorry that you didn't get one over on somebody."

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  1. You’re now about to witness the strength of street knowledge.

    1. This is a very troubling decision. No one should be allowed to use “free speech” to offend a policeman or any other distinguished member of our society. This case must have been sent to the wrong judge, and lessons should be learned from that mistake. See the documentation of America’s leading criminal “satire” case at:

      https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  2. Juries are one of the greatest check to government power and should be required for all criminal cases.

    It would put pressure on prosecutors to only try serious criminal cases where the evidence is strong.

    Saving taxpayers A LOT of money.

    1. “Juries are one of the greatest check to government power” says the commenter who routinely lusts for “government power” when it suits his Progressive agenda.

      Fuck off, slaver!

      1. Poor troll does not like my Libertarian views.

    2. Juries are one of the greatest check to government power and should be required for all criminal cases.

      Additionally, and contrary to judicial precedent, jury nullification should not only be taught in every civics class (if that’s even still a thing) but also be presented to every juror as part of his/her options during jury instructions.

      1. After posting this I wondered, “what are the odds that LC is for jury nullification in any case not involving gun control.” I fully expect a response like, “but muh rulez of law!”

        1. Rule of Law being enforced with constitutional laws has nothing to do with jury nullification always being an option to acquit a defendant.

          I am fine with a jury letting you off the hook, if they feel that justice is not being done. I am against the state getting to convict you as some kind of default, which is what we mostly have.

          I am against selective enforcement of laws because of your corrupt connections to officials. I am against many Americans letting unconstitutional laws remain on the books because the laws dont impact them.

          Gun control laws are unconstitutional. All of them. If I was on a jury with a defendant accused on some gun law, I would try and acquit them and never vote for conviction.

          I have acquitted a few defendants where I served on juries. One was a drug case. Drug laws are unconstitutional, so it didnt matter what the guy did, he was not guilty as far as I was concerned. Should the guy have been arrested? Yes! Because the Rule of Law requires that laws be equally applied to all persons. Then a judge or jury can release the defendant. After enough of that happening, these unconstitutional laws wont just sit on the books, they will be repealed- hopefully.

          1. I’ll give credit where credit is due; This was a well thought out, rational response.

            1. Mine always are when people ask me things and are not trolling.

              I am happy to discuss a wide range of topics. Discuss being the key word.

              1. Well written, by both Leo and Love. Jury Nullification can only grow in scope and understanding throughout the US population as, one by one, the public comes to realize it is always an option in a jury trial. Jurists who are adept at using language will come to influence others without ever using the term “nullification.” They will simply explain – to their fellow jurors – that “the charges in this case are frivolous, a waste of taxpayer money, and that the law is being mis-applied or should not be a law to begin with.” They will then state they intend to vote “not guilty” and they will urge that others do the same.

        2. Some people would rather have no laws that are set up by a government- Anarchists.
          Some people would rather we ignore Constitutional laws- Anarchists

          Some people would rather we selectively apply all laws, so some people dont have consequences and some people do.

          1. How would you classify people who feel that there should be no laws against people acting in a manner that causes no harm to another person’s life, liberty, or property… even if those laws are allowed under a Constitution?

            1. Not fit to live in a Democratic Constitutional Republic. If you live in the USA you play by the basic rules that make the USA what it is.

              I mean no ill will toward them and wish the best. Buy some land outside the USA and start Anarchy-land. Good luck! I mean that wholeheartedly.

              The USA was founded with a Constitution and some of my family helped make that happen. I wont let it slip away without a fight.

              If you choose to stay and undermine the Constitution in some hope that out of the ashes, Anarchy-land will form- you will continue to get push back.

              1. “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.”

                – Lysander Spooner

                1. Spooner. One of the First Internationalists and a lawyer to boot.

                  Always typical of a socialist to hate the USA and never forgive its original sin (slavery) because sla ery never existed before the USA.

                  I do laugh that you cite spooner. Libertarian he was not.

              2. By the way, the correct answer was libertarian.

              3. This is kind of a head scratcher because my libertarian view is that the point of the constitution is that the rules serve to limit the government. The point of the government to a libertarian is primarily to barricade people against other governments, i.e. to prevent an ungoverned swath of Anarchyland from being claimed and regulated by Nazis or Commies. From these perspectives it makes sense for a libertarian to say: “I am not interested in the rule of law, except to the extent that it restricts governments (the US government as well as the Nazis/Commies).”

                I understand the motivation to stay and change one’s surroundings despite the possibility of buying a ship, declaring it the ASS Anarchy, and living in international waters, because the real-world trade off is leaving one’s family and friends behind. It’s kind of a corrupt trade off, but the question is whether it hurts you in a real, physical way, or just offends your sensibilities.

                My poll had a couple of referendums on whether so-and-so should be eligible for tax relief and of course my response was ‘no,’ because I don’t want to pick up the tab for them. But who can blame them for trying to avoid being coerced into giving up their hard-earned money?

                1. Leo is one of the many anarchists hiding among Libertarians. They sabotage and undermine in the hopes of anarchyland spontaneously appearing.

                  They dont have the balls to admit that they are anarchist or buy their own land to start anarchyland. They are the harbingers of the plague. Death and destruction in the name of their holy grail- communism.

                  1. Hello loveconstitution1789 and IJustWorkHere.
                    I’m an anarchist. If you think that anarchy would truly be so bad, why not prove it with an experiment?

                    Let myself and those like me secede from the country we’re living in for 2 years. We become mostly tax-exempt although we would be charged (perhaps at double the cost?) for using any government services (roads / libraries / parks / etc…). The government recognizes any land held by anarchists to be off limits for law enforcement with one exception. If a citizen is held on anarchist land against their will, the government is permitted to extract them. If the citizen wishes to press charges, the government may extract the suspect, but the suspect is entitled to a trial by jury of his/her peers (anarchists). At the end of the 2 years, we would be given the opportunity to rejoin “society” or make our secession permanent.

                    This seems fair to me, do either of you have any objections / modifications to my experiment?

  3. ” Sorry that you didn’t get one over on somebody.”

    Not all heroes wear capes.

    1. Well, he certainly wasted the fuck out this dude’s time. He still had the power to make him show up to court. He got his power trip the second he gave out the ticket. It’s not like he cared after that.

      1. Oh he cares. No one likes to look like a dipshit, especially those with ticketing power.

        1. He’ll look even more like a dipshit when his department has to pay off on a First Amendment claim.

      2. The process IS the punishment.

  4. Awesome.

  5. As it turns out, James Webb, who did not know Franklin, witnessed the stop. He decided on his own accord to turn the song up louder before walking into the gas station store.

    Gangsta AF. Also pretty ballsy. He’s lucky he didn’t end up on the receiving end of a beat down.

    1. I guarantee this guy gets harassed by the local police at every single opportunity. You’ve got to hand it to him though, not only to play the song, but to challenge his right to do so in court.

      1. I guarantee this guy gets harassed by the local police at every single opportunity.

        Perhaps that was already the case, and the reason he turned the song up in the first place.

  6. Beautiful.

  7. I think it was rude.
    I think it was not a criminal offense.
    Acquit.
    I also would not feel protected by a policeman that easily distracted by trivia.

    1. I dunno, it sounds perfectly appropriate to me, given the actions of the cop.

  8. Prior to the verdict, the deputy said that he took issue with the vulgarity of the word “fuck” in the song. However, Nicholas Somberg, a lawyer who represented Webb pro bono, said that a video from the initial traffic stop showed the officer using the same word with Franklin

    Wouldn’t this be considered perjury?

    1. He was also offended by his own vulgarity.

      1. He was offended, but his vulgarity saved lives.

    2. He was using profanity during a routine traffic stop? County sheriff departments seem to tend to lack professionalism.

      1. Where I live they pretty much only escort funerals and evict old people from their houses.

  9. One wonders what kind of traffic violation would require a “professional” public servant to utter the word “fuck” in a public facing situation. It would be a terminal decision in just about any “civilian” employment. Fucking new professionalism.

    1. ” It would be a terminal decision in just about any “civilian” employment.”

      Lolwut? No, just no.

    2. I’m guessing he said, “what the fuck you smokin, boy?”

  10. Sounds like hate speech to me. We can’t have hate speech being spoken.

  11. Good.

  12. He faced 93 days in jail? For a loud song? That screamed ‘fuck da police?’

    It’s very tempting to say ‘Fuck the police’ when they pull shit like this.

    Go do some real work heroes.

    1. Third strike misdemeanor?

    2. Maybe “fuck da police ” is okay, but “fuck the police” is a crime?

  13. This one time I was detained by a cop for an alleged traffic violation, I had a pretty white privileged moment. He called me “bro” and I reflexively said, “Please don’t call me that.” To which he responded, annoyed, “Okay, sir.” Let’s just say that flashing my tits was not an option to get out of the ticket at that point.

    1. I’m not your buddy, guy.

      1. Exactly, this isn’t a consensual encounter; this is is an armed government representative accusing me of a crime.

        This is a serious, business-like “transaction”, not a meeting of two bar buddies. I pulled over because you would initiate violence against me if I refused, not because I want to talk to you.

  14. 1st Amendment, free speech, what took them so long? 9 whole minutes?

    1. It takes that long just to get everybody sitting down and paying attention and take the vote. Especially since you’ll inevitably have one guy wasting everybody’s time at the start, saying, “Why are we even here? There’s clearly no law that’s been broken, blah blah blah,” while everybody else is saying, “Can you just shut up already so we can vote to acquit?”

  15. Blasting car stereos should be a capital crime, not a $500 fine and 93 days in jail crime. Maybe a fine and short sentence for a first offense, but after that, HANG ‘EM.

    Ditto for loud exhausts.

    1. ^ Found the fascist! If wintroub doesn’t like your behavior, off with your head!

      1. I think wintroub was speaking figuratively, not literally. He’s likely an old fart (like me) who doesn’t like Utes blaring music as loudly as possible with the car windows down.

  16. Trial by Jury, and the right keep and bear arms… People from People’s States everywhere crawl under barbed wire to be oppressed by these awful things not present in altruist worker paradises or religious dictatorships. Why is that?

    1. “altruist worker paradises”

      I think I saw a young adult move about those.

  17. He’s black so he gets a free pass.

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  19. Yeah, It’s kind of a corrupt trade off, but the question is whether it hurts you in a real, physical way, or just offends your sensibilities.

  20. Kudos to Nicholas Somberg, the lawyer who did this case pro bono. With all the whining about bad lawyering and bad lawyers; it’s great to see a story where the lawyer is a hero. Good for him!!!

  21. I eagerly await Eazy-E’s legal opinion on this issue.

  22. Judge had no balls.

    At the conclusion of the prosecution’s presentation, judge should have immediately directed summary judgement that because of the obvious 1A issue, no jury verdict could come back as anything other than not guilty (or if if it did, no possibility that a 1A appeal would ever survive). But the judge was part of the machine, and did not want to upset the cops, and prosecutor.

  23. If he had turned up the volume on Baby, It’s Cold Outside….would have been life in prison, no parole.

    1. If it was Justin Bieber, he’d be sent to Death Row.

    2. And it would have been “Cold Inside” too … in that cold, sterile cell for the holidays. Santa’s Gulag, so to speak, and what he so richly deserved for playing that male dominating Christmas Carl?

  24. Well done jury. Very very well done.

  25. So what we have here is a police officer who violated the 1st A rights of a citizen, and in doing so violated the oath he took when he was hired. Sounds like cause for immediate loss of his job to me.

  26. Amazing what some Government agencies spend money on prosecuting when it comes to censoring speech. #LeesaFazal

  27. “deputy said that he took issue with the vulgarity of the word “fuck” in the song”

    Yeah, he should left that out.

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  32. $500: Kinda steep (for a supposed “noise violation” during daytime hours, at least that’s what I got from the article, but even if it was the middle of the night, that’s milking the “perp”), whatever … However: 93 days in jail?? … 93 DAYS???? … What the ever-lovin’ fuck???? (There! I said it! Have I damaged anyone? Should I spend three months in jail for that?) … Such policy is draconian past stupidity … Just sayin’ …

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