Fully Informed Jury Association

Are you fully informed about jury nullification?

FIJA in the News & FIJActivist | 13 Aug 2012

Jury nullification education still barely ‘legal’ in USA, rules judge

Share

Jury nullification education still barely ‘legal’ in USA, rules judge

U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood said 80-year-old Julian Heicklin, who was arrested by FBI agents for passing out pamphlets marked “Jury Info” from an organization known as the Fully Informed Jury Association to an undercover agent, was within his legal rights under law to do so. Prosecutors had argued that Heicklin was in violation of U.S. law, which prohibits influencing jurors through written communication.

“Heicklen advocates passionately for the right of jurors to determine the law as well as the facts,” Wood wrote. “The pamphlets state that a juror has not just the responsibility to determine the facts of a case before her on the basis of the evidence presented, but also the power to determine the law according to her conscience.”

Judge Wood distinguishes between general juror education and attempting to influence the outcome of a particular case:

“The statute thus prohibits a defendant from trying to influence a juror upon any case or point in dispute before that juror by means of a written communication in relation to that case or that point in dispute,” the 27-page order says.

“It also prohibits a defendant from trying to influence a juror’s actions or decisions pertaining to that juror’s duties, but only if the defendant made that communication in relation to a case or point in dispute before that juror,” the order continues. “The statute therefore squarely criminalizes efforts to influence the outcome of a case, but exempts the broad categories of journalistic, academic, political, and other writings that discuss the roles and responsibilities of jurors in general, as well as innocent notes from friends and spouses encouraging jurors to arrive on time or to rush home, to listen closely or to deliberate carefully, but with no relation to the outcome of a particular case.”

We remind all activists that FIJA outreach is general outreach. FIJA activists give literature to anyone who is willing to accept it without regard for whether or not they are or are not involved in a case. This is our standard protocol whether we are distributing brochures at fairs and festivals, at meetings, on the sidewalk, near a courthouse, or anywhere else.

Share