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Jury Nullification Advocate Is Indicted
New York Times ^ | February 25, 2011 | BENJAMIN WEISER

Posted on 02/25/2011 10:52:20 AM PST by Second Amendment First


Since 2009, Mr. Heicklen has stood there and at courthouse entrances elsewhere and handed out pamphlets encouraging jurors to ignore the law if they disagree with it, and to render verdicts based on conscience.

That concept, called jury nullification, is highly controversial, and courts are hostile to it. But federal prosecutors have now taken the unusual step of having Mr. Heicklen indicted on a charge that his distributing of such pamphlets at the courthouse entrance violates the law against jury tampering. He was arraigned on Friday in a somewhat contentious hearing before Judge Kimba M. Wood, who entered a not guilty plea on his behalf when he refused to say how he would plead. During the proceeding, he railed at the judge and the government, and called the indictment “a tissue of lies.”

Mr. Heicklen insists that he never tries to influence specific jurors or cases, and instead gives his brochures to passers-by, hoping that jurors are among them.

But he feels his message must be getting out, or the government would not have brought charges against him.

“If I weren’t having any effect, would they do this?” said Mr. Heicklen, whose former colleagues recall him as a talented and unconventional educator. “You don’t have to be a genius to figure this thing out.”

Prosecutors declined to comment on his case, as did Sabrina Shroff, a lawyer who was assigned to assist Mr. Heicklen. (He is acting as his own lawyer.)

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: julianheicklen; jury; jurynullification; kimbawood; nullification; rebeccamermelstein; sabrinashroff
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To: Second Amendment First
But federal prosecutors

What are their names? Why did they do this unconscionable act?

Free Speech is "jury tampering"?

These SOB's can't even get an indictment against Mafia gangsters who really are doing that, and they go after a decent man on the street?

Despicable. Tell us who they are so we can heap shame on them.

41 posted on 02/25/2011 11:18:52 AM PST by Regulator (Watch Out! Americans are on the March! America Forever, Mexico Never!)
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To: Second Amendment First

Scuttlebutt from a long ago, dismissed, hung-jury, marijuana smoking case in California.

“It they want to smoke pot, let them.”

42 posted on 02/25/2011 11:19:05 AM PST by OldNavyVet (One trillion days, at 365 days per year, is 2,739,726,027 years ... almost 3 billion years)
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To: Balding_Eagle

It’s exclusion should be reason for appeal, I would think.

43 posted on 02/25/2011 11:20:23 AM PST by Second Amendment First
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To: Second Amendment First
Just my opinion. This guy is doing the work the judges ought to be doing by informing the public of their rights and responsibilities as jurors. Any judge that does not tell the jurors of their constitutional rights as jurors is in breach of his/her oath of office and should not be allowed on the bench.

When one is asked a question and the answer does not include the "whole truth" re critical information to make an informed decision, is that lying? When I was a kid, my dad thought so.

44 posted on 02/25/2011 11:22:34 AM PST by drypowder
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To: meatloaf
I believe nullification only applies to GRAND juries, I.E. Federal and State cases.
You are always free to render your vote as you see fit, without fear of prosocution or prosecution what ever the court.
45 posted on 02/25/2011 11:24:48 AM PST by enraged
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To: bvw

Good point.

46 posted on 02/25/2011 11:24:54 AM PST by WayneS (Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. -- James Madison)
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To: Second Amendment First

Conscientious juuries frighten the heck out of out corrupt LEO/Judiciary complex.

47 posted on 02/25/2011 11:24:54 AM PST by Seruzawa (What's Democrat's legacy? Almost 1/2 million dead US soldiers and collapsed cities.)
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To: bvw

I’d be interested in knowing what, specifically, he was indicted for. What’s the actual law he is charged with breaking?

48 posted on 02/25/2011 11:25:30 AM PST by RobRoy (The US Today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: Seruzawa

This is clearly a very conscientious man. A true hero.

They’ve been harassing him, too, evidently.

49 posted on 02/25/2011 11:27:13 AM PST by bvw
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To: texson66

Jury nullification goes way back in this land, famously in colonial times when it was used to protect freedom of speech, later in prosecution of the Fugitive Slave Act and during Prohibition. Unfortunately, it was also abused during the Jim Crow days, exonerating obviously guilty whites of crimes against blacks. You take the bad with the good.

The power is absolute and constitutional, upheld multiple times. However, its application has been eroded by later decisions. By the late 1800s judges didn’t have to inform the jury of their power, and by the 1960s they were allowed to prevent the jury from being told in the courtroom that they had this power at all (a judge will declare a mistrial if the defense tries). This guy was simply trying to inform potential jury members of their legal power and their rights as citizens. Consider it Miranda for juries.

“It is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision ... you have a right to take it upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy” — John Jay, first Chief Justice of the United States

50 posted on 02/25/2011 11:29:40 AM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: cripplecreek

>>U.S. vs. DOUGHERTY (1972) [D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals]: The jury has....”unreviewable and irreversible acquit in disregard of the instructions on the law given by the trial judge.”<<

That is the money quote. When courts hand down decisions, the decision is written with an explanation, such as the 78 pager written by the judge in Florida on the unconstitutionality of obamacare. But a juror is merely asked, if asked at all, is this your vote”. Both times I was on jury duty, after the vertict was announced, each of us were asked for our personal vote.

A juror does not have to justify his decision. The implications are enormous. I was actually thumbing my nose at one judge (In my head, of course) during one small part of his instructions.

51 posted on 02/25/2011 11:30:00 AM PST by RobRoy (The US Today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: Navy Patriot

No jury. “Because he was charged with a misdemeanor, she said, he was not entitled to a jury trial”

52 posted on 02/25/2011 11:31:43 AM PST by Ratman83
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To: Second Amendment First
Wood, Kimba Maureen
Born 1944 in Port Townsend, WA

Federal Judicial Service:
Judge, U. S. District Court, Southern District of New York
Nominated by Ronald Reagan on December 18, 1987, to a seat vacated by Constance Baker Motley; Confirmed by the Senate on April 19, 1988, and received commission on April 20, 1988. Served as chief judge, 2006-2009. Assumed senior status on June 1, 2009.

Connecticut College, B.A., 1965
London School of Economics, M.Sc., 1966
Harvard Law School, J.D., 1969

Professional Career:
Private practice, Washington, DC, 1969-1970
Attorney, Office of Legal Services, Office of Economic Opportunity, Washington, DC, 1970-1971
Private practice, New York City, 1971-1988

53 posted on 02/25/2011 11:32:04 AM PST by SmithL
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To: WayneS

>>In my opinion, jury tampering is only a valid charge if he handed out the pamphlets only to specific juror(s) for purposes of influencing the verdict in specific case(s).<<

Exactly how I see it. If they cannot prove he was targeting specific jurors, I honestly do not know how they think they have a case. I think this is intimidation and if he calls them on the bluff, eventually they will have no choice but to blink. And if I were him, I’d ask for a jury trial. :)

54 posted on 02/25/2011 11:32:15 AM PST by RobRoy (The US Today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: Christian Engineer Mass
"Judges “instructing” juries should be illegal. Advise, yes, but instruct, no. "

A judge "directing" a verdict is a total distortion of the court system. Even chief justices have promoted jury nullification as the greatest balance to the judicial branch. Problem now is we have extreme corruption in the court room.

55 posted on 02/25/2011 11:33:01 AM PST by TPOOH (I wish I could have been Jerry Reed.)
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To: cripplecreek

He only need present those four quotes in his defense case. ;)

56 posted on 02/25/2011 11:33:39 AM PST by RobRoy (The US Today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: Second Amendment First

During prohibition, especially in Florida, jurors just plain refused to convict rum runners. This irritated prosecutors so much that they first subverted the right against double jeopardy, but that didn’t work, because they couldn’t get a jury to convict no matter how hard they tried.

So judges hit on the idea of using an injunction against them that was so restrictive they couldn’t conduct business. This worked, because if they violated terms of their injunction, they would immediately be taken before that same judge, who would convict them on the spot for “contempt of court”, which didn’t merit a jury trial. So that was up to one year in jail.

Almost immediately this was corrupted so that there was no way they could *not* violate the injunction, including the use of clearly unconstitutional restrictions.

And even when prohibition ended, these techniques did not. Some are still in use. So while jury nullification might work for a while, a court system that does not care what the public thinks will seek to overcome it.

57 posted on 02/25/2011 11:34:10 AM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: antiRepublicrat

I think the tyranny is running scared.

58 posted on 02/25/2011 11:36:48 AM PST by Goreknowshowtocheat
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To: RobRoy

According to the article: “distributing of such pamphlets at the courthouse entrance violates the law against jury tampering”

The Professor is a crusader, and he has been harassed for informing the jury pool of our common law inheritance — Jury Nullification — before.

There is also a strong current of the War On Drugs here, so we get some “conservative” judges adamantly hammering down on any whiff of “jury nullification” ideas and the persons who would dare say they apply.

See for additional info on the Professor’s crusade:

59 posted on 02/25/2011 11:42:16 AM PST by bvw
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To: SmithL; US Navy Vet; Emperor Palpatine

Kimba Wood was Clinton’s second attempt at appointing an Attorney general. Like his first nominee, she was dumped for illegal “nanny” problems. Janet Reno ended up with the job.

Lani Guiniere was nominated by Clinton for Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division, but got dumped for being a radical and basically a complete goofball.

60 posted on 02/25/2011 11:47:05 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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