How is this not a violation of this guy’s First Amendment rights?

Posted: February 25, 2011 by chad98036 in Uncategorized

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 is to appear in court on Friday for a conference in his case.

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.

Aren’t the courthouse steps one of the public commons areas that are supposed to open to everyone for political activity?  If they can force grocery stores or shopping malls to allow protestors on their property as places of public accommodation how are actual pieces of public property not covered?  And how is this not political speech, which should be covered by the highest form of scrutiny?  Hopefully someone in the Justice department will see this article and bitch slap this prosecutor.

source

Comments
  1. Veeshir says:

    Shut up. That’s how.

    Geez, it’s like you haven’t been paying any attention at all.

  2. Douglas says:

    I don’t know. The guy has a right to be there because there has never been any legislation about it, but it seems kinda like electioneering. He’s asking people to basically break the law.

    It’s one of those sticky libertarian moments for me. I doubt he influences many, but that he influences some seems likely, and he is suggesting that people basically support a lawless society. Lots of laws I don’t like, but I obey them.

    • Storm Saxon's Gall Bladder says:

      Jury nullification i not unlawful, even if the courts “are hostile to it”. He’s been doing this since 2009, and if he were asking people to break the law this would have been stopped already. I don’t like the idea; i’ve heard some Nation of Islam fellow advocating nullification for all black jurors hearing cases of black defendants and it’s easy to see someone refusing to convict if they didn’t like the victem’s religion or whatever. Of course the courts don’t like it, but it’s generaly impossible to prove why someone votes Not Guilty.

  3. Goober says:

    Douglas;

    I see this as a perfect opportunity to let you in on a little knowledge. Jury nullification is not illegal. The courts are hostile to it because it undermines their authoritah, but it is absolutely imperative that it remain legal (and it is) so that juries can choose to not prosecute a person under a law that has either been mis-applied or is being applied unjustly, even if the specific writ and letter of that law has been technically violated. It is to protect the “intent” of laws and to keep power-drunk courts and prosecutors form prosecuting violations of the “letter” of some law that do not fall within the intent of that law.

  4. Sean M. says:

    Okay, this is a purely hypothetical question…

    Would it be okay for someone to stand outside a courthouse and hand out leaflets to potential jurors going inside with information that was inadmissible in court which argued that a defendant in a case was guilty or innocent, or would that be seen as jury tampering?

  5. chad98036 says:

    I think that would be jury tampering because specific jurors are being targeted with specific information. This is general information that he is attempting to pass out to everyone.

  6. Douglas says:

    Okay, still don’t like it, it’s why I was so wishy in asking. Thanks for the info.

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