When I was growing up, I was taught in school that the legal system treated everyone that they were innocent until proven guilty. I was taught that, if you hadn’t broken any laws, then you didn’t have anything to worry about from the police and the judicial system. I was taught that speaking the truth, even if unpopular, was a legal thing to do.
But, in Big Rapids, Michigan, all of this is wrong.
Here’s what happened: a former pastor stood outside of a courthouse and told the truth about the legal rights of jurors and what kind of power that they actually have. He was arrested and sentenced to prison time for doing this. John Vibes writes about it,
For those who don’t know, jury nullification is the right for any juror to not only judge the facts of the case but also to judge the validity of the law itself. If a jury feels that a defendant is facing an unjust charge, they have the right to rule in the defendant’s favor, even if they are technically guilty under the court’s standards.
Federal and individual state governments are terrified about this concept becoming mainstream as it could lead to radical change in regards to victimless ‘crimes.’
Wood wanted people to know about their rights on a jury so he printed out pamphlets from the Fully Informed Jury Association and began passing them out at his local courthouse.
By the time he could hand out 50 fliers, court officials had Wood arrested. Wood was on a public sidewalk, which should have given him additional protection under free speech laws, but he was arrested anyway.
Wood was charged with a five-year felony for obstructing justice and a one-year misdemeanor for jury tampering. This week in court, Wood was found guilty on the obstruction of justice charge and sentenced to eight weekends in jail plus six months of probation and additional fines.
Now, in case you’re skeptical and are wondering if Wood was distributing information about the case being tried that day, the answer is that he wasn’t. It was general information about jury nullification which is legal but not talked about in the court system.
Jury nullification is the legacy given to the people by the founding fathers to fight back against an overbearing and oppressive government (without having to resort to full scale violent revolution). The police state wouldn’t want you to know that you can tell them that they’re wrong, would they?
I’m not going to suggest that most police officers are evil people. I don’t believe that. What I will tell you, though, is that they will tend to bring you in for violating laws that are invalid because that is what they are told to do to keep their jobs.
It’s not enough to know your rights. You have to know how to exercise them and make use of them, too.