Dr. Julian P. Heicklen, quintessential American hero in the cause of liberty and justice for all has been vindicated at last.
A federal judge in New York City has ordered the dismissal of an indictment against the frail courageous 80-yrar-old professor, wrongly charged with jury tampering for merely exercising his fundamental First Amendment constitutional rights by passing out leaflets advocating jury nullification while outside courthouses.
He has violated no laws. He has committed no crimes. He is innocent. He’s the victim of a vicious persecution by evil government agents of American Authority!
As I described this gentile and humble man in these pages last year, Julian Heicklen is my hero.
Julian Heicklen understands well the concept that jury verdicts are what determine innocence or guilt, liability or no cause for action in our system of criminal and tort law. They are not infallible. Mistakes are often made. Verdicts have been corrupt but in most cases juries will try diligently to do what is right.
If a jury concludes that something about a case stinks, it has the power to disregard evidence and/or refuse to apply the law. That’s called “jury nullification,” and it’s been a little known part of our Anglo American justice system for centuries.
Government Authority, including most judges, prosecutors and police hate the very idea of jury nullification because they want to think that they hold all the legal powers. They want juries to follow their instructions like automatons and they never tell them about their right to nullify.
So most jurors who are ordinary citizens serving only once simply don’t realize the true extent of their powers under the law. They just dutifully obey the instructions the court gives them, then rubber stamp a verdict, even if they disagree with the law, or the application of the law to the facts against an accused under the peculiar circumstances of a case.
This is why the activities of professor Heicklen are so vitally important today. He has made it his business to peacefully and politely inform American juries of their lawful powers. He spends his valuable free time distributing Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) literature outside federal courthouses.
For this service to humanity he has been largely and deliberately ignored by the mainstream media; wrongfully arrested, handcuffed, and imprisoned numerous times on the orders of federal judges or police; dragged to mental hospitals; medicated with tranquilizers against his will; beaten, tortured, sodomized, and otherwise cruelly abused by medical personnel in collusion with the police; only to have all charges against him dropped every time – because he has done nothing wrong.
But some evil agents of the state are not satisfied, especially Manhattan prosecutor Rebecca Mermelstein, who claims that Jury nullification advocacy is a crime in New York City. She persecuted Dr. Heicklen last December, charging him with the crime of jury tampering for merely handing out his Fully Informed Jury Association pamphlets in front of a New York federal courthouse.
As I posted then, this woman actually believes that free speech is a crime in Manhattan. She claims that jury nullification advocacy is “not protected by the First Amendment.”
Mr. Heicklen’s advocacy amounts to “a significant and important threat to our judicial system,” claimed the persecutors.
But that was not the case as far as I was concerned. As I posted confidently back then:
“Any fair judge would have tossed the prosecutor’s case out of court long ago on the grounds that Mr. Heicklen enjoys a First Amendment Constitutional right as a matter of law to advocate the doctrine of jury nullification in a public place. There is no question of fact to decide.
Yes he can advocate, even in front of a Manhattan court house. He wasn’t tampering with a jury. He was exercising free speech.
What sane human being could argue otherwise?”
And now federal district judge, Kimba M. Wood has finally held that that a person violates the jury tampering statute only when he or she knowingly tries to influence a juror’s decision through a written communication “made in relation to a specific case pending before that juror.”
She would not “stretch the interpretation” of the statute to cover speech that was “not meant to influence” a juror’s actions in a specific case.
The court made it clear that the indictment against Dr. Heicklen could be dismissed merely on a reading of the plain language of the statute, which refers to trying to influence a juror through “written communication” in relation to an “issue or matter pending” before the juror.
Thus, she tossed the case against our hero without even the necessity of deciding the First Amendment questions raised – a humiliating defeat for the prosecutor’s.
“I don’t think sensible prosecutors should have even brought this case,” says a law school professor who has written extensively about jury nullification. Judge Wood rejected “the government’s broader reading because it would arguably chill protected speech.”
Predictably, the evil prosecutors lurking about their imperial offices in the guise of Authority have declined to comment on the ruling.
They are fortunate for sure that they enjoy legal immunity for their vile treatment of Dr. Heicklen. The same is true for the other federal judges who ordered his persecution; the police who carried it out; and the medical personnel who tortured and abused an innocent man.
I don’t believe that they should enjoy immunity. I think they should all rot in prison for what they have done and should pay Dr. Heicklen dearly for the ordeals they have put him through.
But at least we lovers of liberty can all celebrate for once:
Dr. Julian P. Heicklen has been vindicated at last.