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Function of Juries & Jurors Doing Justice | 19 Jan 2015

-Jury Finds Open Carry Advocate Not Guilty

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IMG_1132cropWe start the week off with good news from Detroit, Michigan, where a jury has found an open carry advocate Not Guilty of carrying a concealed weapon due to wearing a coat that police found too puffy, a felony charge that could have put him in prison for five years over an entirely victimless allegation.

Jury finds open-carry advocate not guilty after arrest by Detroit police

After Detroit police arrested 24-year-old Elijah Woody in September, officials said they had an open-and-shut case.

They claimed to have dash-cam footage that proved conclusively that Woody, who admits to regularly openly and legally carrying firearms, illegally had a handgun concealed in his waistband beneath a puffy coat on Sept. 13.

That evidence apparently wasn’t quite as conclusive in the eyes of a jury who found Woody not guilty of the felony carrying a concealed weapon charge Friday.

Elijah Woody is a member of a Detroit group called Hell’s Saints, who inform the public at large on their rights to keep and bear arms. In a strange twist, apparently the Detroit police decided they needed ten officers to have a chat with Hell’s Saints founder James Baker.

Detroit gun arrest prompts unusual meeting between Chief James Craig, open-carry advocate

Baker, who is no relation to Woody, not his attorney and had yet to speak to him — at the time, Woody remained in the Wayne County Jail — said he was invited to a meeting with the chief that up to nine other officers attended.

Detroit Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Woody (no relation to Elijah Woody) said the intent was to “clear up” some discrepancies Baker was disseminating, including that the arrest was racially motivated, which he said was “furthest from the truth,” adding that all three arresting officers, as well as Elijah Woody, are black.

Baker viewed dash-cam video, audio and details of the arrest, he says.

Although Baker told MLive Detroit Thursday he felt the evidence was “inconclusive,” that’s not the impression Sgt. Woody said he had when the meeting ended.

Regardless of whether or not any of the jurors felt the firearm was hidden by the puffiness of the coat, the jury came to the right conclusion in acquitting Mr. Woody. None of the reports surrounding this incident indicate that he in any way harmed or threatened anyone else. Rather, officers chose to make an arrest and put him at risk of five years in jail time over what amounts to fashion policing, not to mention potentially losing his Second Amendment-protected rights that he obviously values. We, as jurors, have an obligation to uphold justice and to refuse to be complicit in such abuse. It is gratifying to see Woody’s jury protect him with their Not Guilty verdict from what some seem to have thought would be an easy conviction.

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