by Justin Gardner, The Free Thought Project
As constitutional rights are steadily eroded in the U.S. through the burgeoning police/surveillance state, one case in Michigan provides an example of just how dire the situation has gotten. Keith Woods, a resident of Mecosta County, was charged and recently convicted for the “crime” of standing on a public sidewalk and handing out fliers about juror rights.
Woods was exercising his First Amendment rights and raising awareness about something the courts deliberately fail to tell jurors when beginning a trial – jury nullification, or the right to vote one’s conscience. For this, Woods – a father of eight and former pastor – was charged with jury tampering, after an initial felony charge of obstructing justice was dropped following public outcry.
Even with the reduced charge, the case has very troubling implications for free speech rights. The county prosecutor, seemingly furious that a citizen would dare inform the public on jury nullification, said Woods’ pamphlet “is designed to benefit a criminal defendant.”
The prosecutor then seemed to contradict himself in a statement, saying, “Once again the pamphlet by itself, fine, people have views on what the law should be, that’s fine. It’s the manner by which this pamphlet was handed out.”
© 2017 The Free Thought Project