Target: Brian E. Theide, Mecosta County Prosecutor
Goal: Drop all charges and return bond monies collected in case accusing man of obstruction of justice and jury tampering.
A man has been arrested for trying to education people about their rights on a jury. Jury trials depend upon jurors being fully informed of their rights and responsibilities. Unfortunately, judges frequently leave out information related to jury nullification. In Mecosta County, Mich., Keith Wood hoped to remedy that for at least one trial by handing out fliers outside the county courthouse. His efforts were rewarded with arrest and charges of obstruction of justice and jury tampering. He admits to passing out fliers, but believes the charges against him are ill advised at best.
Jury nullification gives impaneled jurors the right to vote their conscience. This means they can find an accused party not guilty despite the evidence produced because they believe the law in question is either immoral or wrongfully applied. Wood maintains that handing out fliers containing this information is covered under free speech protections and was shocked when he was arrested and held for $150,000 bond.
Wood’s lawyer questions how his client can be arrested for jury tampering when the trial in question had yet to impanel a jury. He further asserts that his client’s rights of free speech were violated and is considering filing a federal lawsuit. They argue that although the judge may not have liked Wood’s actions, he was not breaking any laws and arresting him was illegal.
Tell the Mecosta County prosecutor’s office to drop all charges and refund the six-figure bond Wood was forced to pay.
Dear Mr. Theide,
In an ironic twist, a young man using his freedom of speech rights to educate prospective jurors about their right to vote their conscience was recently arrested for obstruction of justice and jury tampering. His arrest not only brings further visibility to jury nullification, it also tramples on Wood’s right of free speech.
Jury nullification allows jurors to acquit the accused if they believe that the law in question is immoral or wrongfully applied. Starting in the 1800s, judges stopped directly explaining this right to jurors. That is not technically illegal, but Wood felt it important for prospective jurors in an upcoming trial have more information about it.
He passed out fliers outside the courthouse and was arrested for obstruction of justice and jury tampering. Wood was attempting to aide in the service of justice by educating potential jurors. Further, as the jury was yet to be impaneled, the charge of jury tampering should not apply. Wood was denied freedom of speech simply because a judge in the courthouse did not approve of his actions in handing out the fliers.
We demand these charges be dropped and that all bond monies Wood paid be returned to him.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Sam Rolley