MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Michigan Activist Faces 5 Years in Prison for Distributing Jury Nullification Pamphlets

A judge claims freedom of speech is a felony.

WXMIWXMIA Michigan activist faces up to five years in prison for exercising his First Amendment rights by distributing Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) literature outside the Mecosta County courthouse. WXMI, the Fox station in Grand Rapids, reports that Keith Wood was arrested last week after passing out about 50 copies of a FIJA pamphlet titled "Your Jury Rights: True or False?" Wood's pamphleting irritated Mecosta County District Judge Peter Jaklevic, who ordered his arrest on charges of jury tampering, a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail, and obstruction of justice, a felony punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

Jaklevic, whose office declined to comment on the case, set Wood's bail at $150,000. "When he told me the bond," Wood told WXMI, "I was speechless. $150,000 bond for handing out a piece of paper on a public sidewalk? Speechless."

FIJAFIJAWood's lawyer, Dave Kallman, said the charges are a clearly unconstitutional. "It's just a blatant, illegal, improper use of government power to squelch a person’s constitutional rights of free speech,” Kallman told WXMI. "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."

Under Michigan law, jury obstruction occurs when someone "willfully attempts to influence the decision of a juror in any case by argument or persuasion,  other than as part of the proceedings in open court in the trial of the case." It is doubtful that Wood committed that offense by disseminating general information about jurors' rights, since he was not trying to influence the outcome of any particular case. In fact, he did not even give pamphlets to people who had been selected as jurors in any particular case. As Kallman put it, Wood was arrested for "for tampering with a jury that didn't exist." 

The obstruction of justice charge against Wood is a common-law offense that occurs when someone prevents a juror from doing his legal duty. The statement of charges against Wood says he committed that offense "by knowingly and intentionally giving the members of a 77th District Court jury pool a pamphlet that encouraged the jurors to violate their oaths and directly contradicted the instructions the jurors would be given, thereby tainting the entire jury panel." In other words, Wood distributing pamphlets explaining the venerable priniciple that jurors have the authority to judge the law as well as the facts, while Mecosta county judges apparently tell jurors that they must confine themselves to the latter.

"I understand why the judge doesn't like it," Kallman said. "But isn't that part of free speech? You allow speech you don't like."

Jaklevic is not alone in thinking that talking about jury nullification is a crime. Last summer Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey charged two local activists with jury tampering, which in Colorado is a felony punishable by up to three years in prison. Morrissey charged Mark Iannicelli and Eric Brandt with seven counts of jury tampering each—one for each jury pool member who received a FIJA pamphlet. Although Morrissey concedes that distributing such information outside courthouses is constitutionally protected, his office says Iannicelli and Brandt went beyond that. It won't say how. 

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.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "I was speechless. $150,000 bond for handing out a piece of paper on a public sidewalk? Speechless."

    Speechless was the point. It's unfortunate there are no personal consequences for state agents violating the law of the land.

  • CZmacure||

    What happens if a wood-chipper gets tar and feathers in it?

  • Citizen X||

    The Reason offices get another nasty letter from a federal prosecutor?

    Hitler?

  • Rhywun||

    "I didn't do it."

  • MichaelL||

    Stops working!

  • Bill Dalasio||

    It's unfortunate there are no personal consequences for state agents violating the law of the land.

    You know, that's a thought I've been mulling over for a while now. It strikes me as the fundamental problem of politics. Political leaders can screw people's life up at any time and get rewarded for "experimenting". I'm not sure of the solution, but something has to be revised in the political system to fix it.

  • ace_m82||

    Tar and feather.

    Violence has a place in polite society. When it is used to repay aggressive violence it's called "justice". Or course, no judge would know what that word means anyway.

  • D. M. Michell||

    Justice actually means "just us," not the peasants...er, citizens.

  • Zeb||

    The Constitution needs an enforcement mechanism. I vote for a mysterious, shadowy assassin empowered to kill any government official who violates an individuals constitutional rights.

  • ace_m82||

    Shhhhhh...

  • robc||

    I am thinking the judges law school should lose their accredidation if they teach this poorly.

  • Cyto||

    By imposing this high bond, the judge tips his hand. He knows that the charges are bullshit. There can be no doubt. When you make someone post a bond that will cost far more than the fine they face, you are intentionally making the process the punishment.

    Unfortunately, there is likely no recourse for this. Unless he has the cash himself, he'll be spending 15 grand to get a bondsman to post the money, or spending months in jail. Or at least until he can get an appeals court to alter the bail.

    The judge should be on the hook for this abuse, but he isn't. He cannot be sued. He's immune. The only thing that could theoretically happen is that he might be removed from office. But that only happens in cases where the judge is caught red-handed committing major felonies in office. No, he's got free reign to go outside the law and punish speech he disagrees with.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Bottom line: Is jury nullification a legally recognized and accepted practice or not?

  • Citizen X||

    It depends on the jurisdiction, but most judges are not down with having the entire basis of their power challenged by some schmoe.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Bona fide jurors are free to vote whichever way they want for whatever reason moves them. That's why there are so many more black dudes in jail than white dudes.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    But can these reasons be articulated without fear of reprisal?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Legitimate reprisal, that is.

  • ||

    Not if the judge made you agree, under oath, to follow jury instructions, and you're about to admit you didn't.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You people are literally of no help.

  • GroundTruth||

    I recall the judge in my one experience being on a jury telling us 'not to worry about the law, just the facts, that he would worry about the righteousness of the law'. To my naive ears, that sounded right. A few years later, after my libertarian awakening, I think would have found the judge guilty.

  • Jigsy||

    Ah, the old "orders are orders" chestnut.

  • Zeb||

    Legitimate by what standard?

  • thrakkorzog||

    You could simply state something similar to "The state didn't make it's case for conviction." Which is vague enough to mean anything. If you bring up nullification during deliberations though, you'll probably get in trouble with the judge.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    Most black dudes in jail aren't there because jurors put them there, an extremely low number of cases get far enough to go to trial.

  • Warren's Strapon||

    Your two statements aren't mutually exclusive; fear of conviction might lead to more plea bargains.

  • robc||

    John Jay said yes.

  • Kenneth Cochran||

    Yes. Jury nullification has been repeatedly upheld as a de facto right. However, the Supreme Court has also continuously tried to suppress it. First, ruling judges had no obligation to inform juries they had the right to nullify a law. Then, prohibiting defendants from arguing for nullification. Then, dismissing jurors for intending to use nullification. Finally, using judicial nullification to overturn the New Hampshire constitutional amendment explicitly allowing the defendant to inform jurors of their right to nullify.

  • retiredfire||

    So, where is it "repeatedly upheld as a de facto right"?
    You give example, after example of where it has NOT been upheld, as, rightfully it should not be.
    It is nothing more than an individual, or small group, deciding that they disagree with a legislatively imposed decree, through the due process of law-making, and being able to exercise a sort of "citizen veto".
    That's not how our system is supposed to work and it never was.

  • Jickerson||

    Of course it's how our system was supposed to work. The People should not be subservient to the government, and jury nullification is a check on the government's power. Jurors can vote whichever way they want.

    The examples he gave simply demonstrate that the government ignores the highest law of the land in order to increase its own power.

  • retiredfire||

    In no ordered society can jury nullification be considered anything but an anti-democratic, anti-republican action and deserving of punishment.
    Our Constitutional system guarantees a republican form of government, which doesn't include an individual, or small group, from deciding that, what we have entrusted in our legislators, may be disregarded, on a whim.
    It is anarchy, pure and simple.
    The First Amendment guarantee of free speech is not an absolute. Advocating defiance of laws, created through the due process of legislation, especially in proximity to where others may be influenced to join in the lawlessness - people entering a courthouse, that might become jurors - should be punished.
    In my state, encouraging more than two people to commit a crime falls under the category of "inciting to riot". Maybe that is a more fitting charge.

  • DaveSs||

    Sorry bub

    We the People are the ultimate arbiters of the Constitution. We created the Constitution, just as we created the government.

    We have juries drawn from the People because it is the People not the government who decide if the government has demonstrated sufficient proof or justification that a crime was committed and that the accused committed the crime.

  • DaveSs||

    Thus it follows that the People through their juries have an obligation to judge the law and its application along with the evidence presented by the Government.

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    And many of his commenters have no problem with it, and in fact encourage it. I'm not sure how a human being could think in such a way.

  • dantheserene||

    That line of thought requires a complete lack of empathy for anyone who may be considered "them", coupled with an unswaying certainty that such an outcome will never, ever, under any circumstances be applied to the thinker.

  • ||

    Exactly. "It couldn't happen to me-ism" is just as virulent a disease as "Soccer Momitis"

  • MJGreen - Docile Citizen||

    You've seen Tulpa argue here. It's the same thing. He broke the law, he can't get a free ride off of the state's judicial system, if anyone should pay for it it is the criminal and not the taxpayers, etc. etc.

  • Citizen X||

    He said "human beings." Why are you bringing up Tulpa?

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    Such is the consequence of hyper-criminalizing society. If the state wants to fuck you, it will always have a way.

  • Citizen X||

    It's a lot like your mom in that respect.

  • perlchpr||

    I just wish she'd ditch the strap-on with the spikes in it. :-/

  • AlexInCT||

    Hey! Get off the mom jokes, cause I just got off yours?

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    Yeah, the so-call "justice system" in America is unbelievably inhumane. There's a reason that, convicted even once, so many people are condemned to spend the rest of their lives broke, unemployed, and in and out of jail.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    "But isn't that part of free speech? You allow speech you don't like."

    "But isn't that part of free speech? You allow speech you don't like imprison those you disagree with."

    Better.

  • GroundTruth||

    Maybe judges need a safe-space to hide from free speech?

  • croaker||

    There's lots of space in a wood chipper.

  • Notorious UGCC||

    Bear in mind that the courts normally protect - or claim they protect - a very broad freedom of expression, a freedom which extends even to certain false statements (certain defamatory statements, false claims of military service).

    But this broad protection of free expression seems - at least in the mind of some judges - to come to an end once you criticize certain things about the prerogatives of judges.

    They're sensitive that way.

  • ||

    Shouldn't you be complaining that he hasn't been indicted by a grand jury?

  • Notorious UGCC||

    Shouldn't you be defending his right to perform abortions without having hospital visitation privileges?

  • Notorious UGCC||

    But there's no need to fear that a grand jury will hold up this case:

    "In Michigan, the grand jury process rarely is used in criminal cases. Preliminary hearings are more common. Defendants can request one; and sometimes they do in order to get a preview of the prosecutor's case; but they're not required."

    So a person accused of affronting the prerogatives of Michigan judges can be brought to trial without the approval of a panel of fellow-citizens on a grand jury.

    And it's all good, because you got off a good insult against someone on the Internet you didn't like.

  • Notorious UGCC||

    I'm still confused about why abortion is a non-negotiable constitutional right while the rights in the Bill of Rights are not. It was only a few years ago that the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged that the states had to obey the 2nd Amendment - and this was a controversial decision.

  • ||

    Who brought up abortion, Eddie? It wasn't me.

  • Notorious UGCC||

    Because I'm not sure why states don't have to obey the entire Bill of Rights, but have to respect rights which were invented by judges more recently?

  • ||

    It's not an insult, Eddie; it's a question. And it's a question I asked you last week when you first brought this up as part of some quixotic apparent effort at copsucking. But before actually calling it that, I thought I would find out if you were going to be consistent.

    Why aren't you demanding a grand jury before he can be indicted for an infamous crime?

  • Notorious UGCC||

    A precedent for grand jury rights would benefit lots of non-cop defendants, even if the precedent arises in a case involving a cop.

    I thought that was fairly obvious.

    Pamphleteers would benefit from grand jury rights, which I think you would acknowledge if someone other than I were to say it.

    Unfortunately, cop stories tend to prompt a lot of grand jury bashing.

    Even in the Darren Wilson case, where the guy was ultimately exonerated by the Obama administration itself, not merely by a state grand jury.

  • Notorious UGCC||

    "Why aren't you demanding a grand jury before he can be indicted for an infamous crime?"

    Did you miss the part where I said the Constitution guarantees grand juries in all such cases?

    But that was in cop threads so it doesn't count, or something.

  • ||

    Did you miss the part where I said the Constitution guarantees grand juries in all such cases?

    No, I didn't miss it at all. That's why I asked you if you were going to be continuing your crusade when the defendant was someone else.

  • Notorious UGCC||

    I'm doing it now, aren't I?

  • retiredfire||

    Did you miss the part where the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, was intended to be a guide for how the United States government may act and not, generally, for the individual states?
    There are many areas where the courts have allowed U.S. Constitutional provisions to control state's actions, but the requirement of a grand jury for an indictment isn't one of them.

  • See Double You||

    I didn't see it as copsucking on his part as much as pedantry. He was encroaching on your turf. ;-)

  • Notorious UGCC||

    OK, let's put it non-pedantically:

    The Supreme Court needs to acknowledge that the 14th Amendment means the states have to obey the entire Bill of Rights.

    The Supreme Court shouldn't simply enforce those parts of the Bill of Rights it happens to like, while ignoring the rest.

    And as a specific instance of this, before a person can be impoverished and driven through the mud with serious criminal charges, a panel of his fellow-citizens has to indict* him.

    *Let's stay away from discussing presentments, that's too pedantic.

  • See Double You||

    I agree with you, Eddy.

  • Zeb||

    I agree as well on the application of the 14th to the BOR.

    Whether grand juries are really all that great in practice is a separate question.

  • Zeb||

    Here's my new plan. Grand juries should be made up entirely of convicted felons. That way you get people who actually have personal experience with the police and criminals.

  • Notorious UGCC||

    "Whether grand juries are really all that great in practice is a separate question."

    I don't know, but I'm cheered by the fact that so many prosecutors try to bypass them. Why would they want to bypass a rubber stamp?

    And I think a couple reforms might help:

    - let anyone send information to the grand jury - witness statements, police reports, etc. - including stuff which contradicts the prosecution narrative.

    - let the grand jurors un-indict someone they've indicted (prior to conviction or guilty plea) if the information they get shows that the prosecution has been giving them only a partial picture.

  • Notorious UGCC||

    I should say evidence, not information.

  • retiredfire||

    Maybe the SC "shouldn't simply enforce those parts of the Bill of Rights it happens to like, while ignoring the rest", but they do.
    The 14th was terrible law and never intended to be used to the extent it has been, it stripped the state's rights the founders set up our federal government to protect.
    Add the 16th and 17th and the destruction was, virtually complete.

  • Procrastinatus||

    One of these days when a judge says "arrest that man" he's going to get told "hell no!" by one of those Good Cops that Conservatives keep assuring me make up the majority of our police.

  • GroundTruth||

    Were you able to type that without giggling?

  • Zeb||

    Oathkeepers?

    I think many conservatives have a different idea of what makes a good cop than we do. "The law is the law", don't you know?

  • Eric Hanneken||

    Under Michigan law, jury obstruction occurs when someone "willfully attempts to influence the decision of a juror in any case by argument or persuasion, other than as part of the proceedings in open court in the trial of the case."


    Persuasion = obstruction? How is this compatible with free speech? I understand the argument for restraining a juror from talking with others about a trial, but silencing the rest of us is going too far.

  • ||

    You know, like showing up at the trial dressed in the same exact gang uniform as the defendant and glaring at the jury. That can be intimidating to the poor jurors who know if they dare convict the defendant for beating a homeless guy to death, they will all be fucked with by the gang members who remain at large.

    Shit like that should definitely be stopped. Wait, you mean they didn't arrest the cops for showing up at trials in uniform? Fuuuuuuck....

  • Eric Hanneken||

    Intimidation is covered separately in paragraph 2 of the Michigan law. Amusingly, it does not prohibit intimidation of a juror "as part of the proceedings in open court in the trial of the case."

  • Zeb||

    I wouldn't think that the audience (or whatever you call it) counts as a part of the proceedings.

  • Mainer2||

    gallery

  • Zeb||

    I thought it was "jury tampering". Obstruction doesn't make any sense there.

    Nor does "tampering". I don't see how informing someone of something very general that they may do is in any way an attempt to influence the decision of a juror. If they were advocating for nullification on a specific case, that would be another matter. But simply telling people that it is something that can be done in general is not that.

  • retiredfire||

    Wouldn't it be worse to advocate that any law could be reversed by a "individual citizen veto" than for a specific law, that the one advocating the nullification wanted disregarded?
    We are a nation of laws. Jury nullification is the complete opposite of that.
    It is nothing more than anarchy.
    That it gets so much support on this, supposedly, libertarian site, is, yet another reason libertarians aren't taken too seriously.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I'm sure that Judge Peter Jaklevic will face severe legal and career consequences for this grossly unconstitutional overreach.

  • ||

    Such as an arrest for obstructing justice?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Apparently it's a pretty low bar in Michigan.

  • ||

    Yeah, don't associate with it.

  • ||

    Yeah, in a perfect world, there would be a prosecutor out there who would file charges.

    But if you can't even charge cops who smash phones up to avoid being filmed because they plead ignorance, there ain't no way you are going to get a judge.

  • robc||

    There should be a special division of the bar association for disbarments for things like this.

  • Zeb||

    Wouldn't it need to be an impeachment for a judge?

  • ace_m82||

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiXNUaSjXRY

    (Yes, I made the same joke twice. Sue me.)

  • retiredfire||

    As a County District judge, he will, probably face what our system decrees a judge face: the votes of the citizens within that county.
    THAT's how our system is supposed to work, just as laws that citizens decide are "unjust" should be pursued through the legislative and electoral process, NOT through the extra-democratic concept of the "individual citizen veto" of jury nullification.

  • Je suis Woodchipper||

    Mecosta County District Judge Peter Jaklevic should be tossed into a metaphorical woodchipper.

  • DK||

    I believe the judge cited precedence from the reason case in arguing that Mr. Wood has a chip on his shoulder.

  • Je suis Woodchipper||

    Let the woodchipping begin:

    Popehat ridicules Mecosta County District Judge Peter Jaklevic.

  • Zeb||

    I think he should be figuratively tossed into a real woodchipper.

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    I thought jury nullification was one of the main points of the jury. As I understand it, the jury is the people's last line of defense against an oppressive or arbitrary government; refusal to convict amounts to a statement that we the people do not condone locking this person away for these activities.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    I hope he has a lawyer that has the guts to argue that and ask the jury to nullify in this case.

    And I hope the jury does nullify.

  • Zeb||

    I hope the jury just acquits because the charges are ridiculous on their face. Or some more sensible judge just throws the charges out.

  • Zeb||

    It is (well maybe not the last line of defense), but you aren't supposed to talk about it.

  • Mainer2||

    Ballot Box
    Jury Box
    Cartridge Box

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    Ballot Box
    Jury Box
    Cartridge Woodchipper Box

    FTFY

  • Some Engineer||

    Chipper box?

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    YOU HEARD ME!!!

  • retiredfire||

    Your understanding is flawed.
    The jury's job is to simply decide if the prosecution has proven their case against a particular defendant, not to act as a "twelve citizen veto" of laws - and that's if all twelve agree. In a criminal case, all it takes is one person, to undo what the representatives of society has approved.

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    I thought jury nullification was one of the main points of the jury. As I understand it, the jury is the people's last line of defense against an oppressive or arbitrary government; refusal to convict amounts to a statement that we the people do not condone locking this person away for these activities.

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    Posted twice for emphasis. Thanks, squirrels.

  • Jordan||

    That's true. It's also why the State hates it.

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    Ultimate power rests with juries BY DESIGN

    judges don't like this

  • retiredfire||

    No, it's bullshit.

  • straffinrun||

  • Notorious UGCC||

    "The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the appeal in May, on the grounds that he had already waived his right to appeal when taking the plea bargain.

    "But rather than write a simple denial, Ninth Circuit Senior Judge Edward Leavy devoted five pages to a condemnation of the sting tactic. He said the "manifest injustice" of the ATF's actions should have led to a dismissal of the case at the district court level due to "outrageous government conduct.""

    (a) The government behaved outrageously in putting you in prison

    but

    (b) plea bargains are magic

    THEREFORE

    (c) back to prison you go!

  • straffinrun||

    Outrageous Government Conduct. They need to get back to being simply incompetent.

  • Juice||

    Jesus. Wow.

  • Cyto||

    The courts are good for doing things like that. I was involved in a Georgia Supreme Court case that went against us. In their ruling the court said that the law in question doesn't say "X", where "X" was a quote taken directly from the law. It was stunning. After all, these guys presumably know how to read, having been to law school and everything. The only explanation we could come up with was that their law partner buddies representing the insurance industry must have given them their preferred language and the law clerks they delegated the whole thing to didn't understand what was going on and munged up the ruling.

    And since this was a ruling on Georgia state law, there was no recourse. The ruling cannot be appealed, so it is the official position of Georgia that it's law doesn't say what it says word for word. In fact, they ruled that it says the opposite. Really bizarre.

  • retiredfire||

    You must not have had a very good lawyer.
    In a long-running case, in which I was involved, frequently I would cite a section of the law only to be informed that "case law" - some other judge deciding his/her interpretation of the written statute was the correct one - said something different.
    It happens all the time. It is a situation of "judicial nullification" and should be deserving of punishment, as well.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    Are judges like Jaklevic elected or appointed in Michigan?

  • Je suis Woodchipper||

    Peter M. Jaklevic is a judge for the 77th District Court in Michigan.[1] He was elected to the court on November 4, 2014, for a six-year term commencing on January 1, 2015, and expiring on December 31, 2020.

    Career prosecutor too.

    Career

    2015-2020: Judge, 77th District Court
    1998-2014: Chief prosecuting attorney, Mecosta County Prosecutor’s Office
    1994-1998: Assistant prosecutor, Mecosta County Prosecutor’s Office

    No wonder his sense of constitutionality is so warped.

  • Zeb||

    There are obviously problems with lifetime appointments too. But I've always thought that elected judges seem like a really, really bad idea.

  • kbolino||

    I have never seen a formerly appointed position (board of ed, orphans court, etc.) filled by qualitatively superior officeholders after becoming an elected position. In fact, the quality seems to degrade.

    Of course, I've only seen this happen at the local level. The newspapers--even local ones--seem unable to find out anything about the candidates more revealing than "Candidate X has a proven history of doing [some job whose qualifications basically amount to being able to communicate in English]" or "Candidate Y loves the children [read: teachers union] and wants to see them succeed [read: wants to funnel more money to the union]!"

    It doesn't help that people largely don't give a shit. If there was such a problem when these officeholders were appointed, then the residents could have elected different local officials who had the power to make the appointments. But Johnny Goodboy's daddy lived in the community for 50 years, so of course we can't remove his corrupt ass from the council. I'm sure it's a fucking coincidence that Goodboy Contracting paves all the roads and Goodboy Towing enforces all the parking meters, too.

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    Wasn't there an article on Reason recently about Goodboy Contracting getting harassed by the government?

  • Je suis Woodchipper||

    Sounds like entrapment:

    “She (courthouse personnel) wasn’t being rough but she was kind of corralling me and she was touching my jacket, and so I asked her again, I said, “Am I being detained?” And she goes, ‘No,’” described Wood.

    “Judge Jaklevic came out of his chambers, he looked at me, he looked down the hall, I didn’t know who he was looking at, and then he looked back towards me and the deputy and he said, ‘Arrest him for jury tampering,'" said Wood.

    At least it's getting the local mainstream news' attention:

    FOX 17 called the office of Mecosta County District Judge Peter Jaklevic, also the former county prosecutor; his office declined comment. FOX 17 also called the Mecosta County Prosecutor's Office, and has yet to hear back.

    Wood refused to take a plea deal Tuesday morning and his preliminary hearing is set for next Tuesday. He and Kallman want his charges dropped and are deciding whether to pursue a federal lawsuit.

    Smart man not taking a plea deal.

  • Rich||

    Although Morrissey concedes that distributing such information outside courthouses is constitutionally protected, his office says Iannicelli and Brandt went beyond that. It won't say how.

    Emphasis added. Ongoing investigation?

    Seriously, "CASE DISMISSED!" *** pounds gavel *** "Now, arrest that office!"

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    They're relying on the Secret Constitution.

  • retiredfire||

    Read the comment from "Je suis Woodchipper" of 12.2.15 @ 11:59AM (directly above yours).
    “Judge Jaklevic came out of his chambers, he looked at me, he looked down the hall, I didn’t know who he was looking at, and then he looked back towards me and the deputy and he said, ‘Arrest him for jury tampering,'" said Wood.
    Clearly, he was in the hallway, which is not something you find outside a courthouse.
    Handing out pamphlets advocating jury nullification, in the courthouse, in an area where prospective jurors are bound to be gathering, is more than speaking on a soap-box in the public square.
    More deceptive reporting by REASON, who stated he was arrested for "distributing Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) literature outside the Mecosta County courthouse".

  • Je suis Woodchipper||

    After, it was explained, Jaklevic ordered the pamphleteer inside the courthouse to meet with him or the pamphleteer would be arrested. He was not pamphleting inside the courthouse as you assert.

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    Talk about unaccountable

    It's a little principle called 'absolute immunity'

    Judges have it

    Prosecutors have it

    (Cops don't. They have QI)

    this isn't one of those close/arguable cases involving speech rights

    This is blatant infringement of the 1st amendment by a govt agent

    Was this judge a 'media professor' prior to this, calling for 'more muscle' to squelch journalists too?

  • kbolino||

    Cops don't. They have QI

    Given current SC jurisprudence as expressed in cases like Hudson v. Michigan and Heien v. North Carolina, there is not much difference between qualified and absolute immunity any more.

  • ace_m82||

    It's a little principle called 'absolute immunity'

    It's just been revoked!

    (Any prosecutor who scans these comments for my name will likely think they have grounds for another "woodchipper incident". To which I say "Molon Labe!")

  • simplybe||

    Reason magazine would do its readers a great service by writing a series of articles on the need for Americans to start using jury nullification.

  • Some Engineer||

    Then they'd have to have fundraising pop-ups year round to pay for the defense lawyers.

  • JasonPen||

    Maybe someone should hand out a woodchipper operation manual to people outside the courthouse.

  • croaker||

    To go with the woodchipper parked outside the courthouse.

  • Dale Smith||

    What people do not know due to the Act of 1871, we are no longer under common law but mari-time admiralty. The gold fringes around the American flag represents the fact that you are in an admiralty court. The "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" is not a country but rather a corporation that is traded on Dun and Bradstreet. "USA.INC" as it were. When you go into a court room, unless you understand Black's Law Dictionary, you can't possibly hope to defend yourself. This young man knew this and was trying to make potential jurors aware. The "judge" is nothing more than an advocate/agent working on behalf of the banking oligarchs that really run this country. Every state, city and town is a subsidiary of this massive corporation that came to be because after the Civil War, America was broke and to insure that the international bankers got their money bank, they insisted that America become "incorporated". That is why we don't have actual laws...they are acts, statutes and codes and if violated, the offender can be fined. Take note sometime when you drive through a small town....you will see a sign that says "Entering Corporate Limits".....which means that you are now under the jurisdiction of this corporation for as long as you are in their town. People should look up what their birth certificate really means and how significant it is....you would be floored to know.

  • ace_m82||

    My 2nd amendment disagrees with your assertion.

    (Not necessarily everyone else's 2nd amendment, but certainly mine.)

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    You're wasting your time, ace. Mr. Smith here is too smart for your puny "counterarguments." You're probably just another banker-oligarch, yourself.

  • ace_m82||

    I work for a bank... but a Canadian one!

    Wait, is that worse somehow? I NEED TO KNOW!!!

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    ZOMGZOMG!!!!1!!11111!!!! MY EYES ARR OPUNNED NOW!!111!!! THX SOOOO MCUH THIS IS THE MOST SHOCKKING THING I HAV SEEN O NTHE INTERWEBZ!!! GO, BRAVE ONE, SPREAD YOUR MESSAJ TO THE WURLD!!11!!!!

    WE CAN UFFORD YOURE SILENZ NO LONGER!!!!

  • Zeb||

    That's a nice story.

  • retiredfire||

    Read the entire Act Mr. Popeye says does this.
    Nothing in the text says anything that doesn't apply ONLY to the District of Columbia.
    Nothing about changing the title of the Constitution or some foreign influence to make the US a corporation that is under their control.
    Tinfoil hat stuff.

  • ||

    America has a police state because America wants a police state. Americans are weak and they want to be taken care of. And people like this upset that end of being taken care of.

  • Alan@.4||

    Strikes me that judgement of this jurist would and should find his seriously wanting.

  • Abu Nudnik||

    Tampering means swaying in a particular direction. Ironically, the fact of the charge necessarily means that informing of jury rights means tampering (the law the defendant is charged with breaking is implicitly questioned), meaning that informing jurors of their rights is illegal. There is something seriously wrong with that.

  • D. M. Michell||

    Jury nullification was a long-held tradition in England and brought to the U.S.. by the English colonists. The push-back against it began with the The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 which allowed slave owners or their agents to enter "free" states to search for run-a-way slaves, and take them back to slavery. Anyone helping a slave escape was committing a federal crime, only it was really hard to get juries to convict them because of jury nullification. By the time of the prohibition of alcohol, where it was also really hard to get local juries to convict local men of "moonshining," the nails in the coffin of jury nullification were all being hammered in. (That was back when you could still get a jury of your peers.) The (in) justice system didn't want jurors thinking for themselves. Why that would be tantamount to anarchy and ruin they whole system of ever increasing control over the common citizens. Legislators pass bad laws and the people should be able to judge those laws. In other cases, the law, as applied to a particular situation, may not be appropriate and the jury should be able to ignore it.

  • D. M. Michell||

    By the way, in 1852 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Fugitive Slave Act, that is to say, they affirmed that slavery was just fine and dandy, just like the U.S. Supreme Court today affirms that the so-called war on drugs--the biggest adult rights violating scheme in America after slavery--is just fine and dandy, too. In my opinion, that makes the Justices political animals not constitutionally astute unbiased jurists, because they wouldn't know and inalienable right if it was staring them in their faces. And without full inalienable rights what have you got? A police state.

  • retiredfire||

    To accept jury nullification opens up a whole can of worms.
    Was it OK in the "reconstruction" South for all-white juries to refuse to convict Klansmen, despite overwhelming evidence?
    How about a more recent example, where OJ got his trial moved from the jurisdiction in which the crime was committed, and he lived, not because he wouldn't get a fair trial, but because he wanted a racially patterned jury, that ruled, purely on racial grounds?
    There are myriad reasons, other than the altruistic "the law is unjust", for a jury to disregard the law, but none of them conform with what society has decreed are the way laws are to be made.
    It is anarchy.
    The ability to rely on laws being enforced and judged as written is essential to society being able to function under defined rules.

  • LAPhil||

    This really burns up. That guy was doing wrong or illegal. Some of these judges are way out of control with the way they abuse their authority and need to be reigned in, although I'm sure not sure just how that can be done.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online