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First Amendment

Prosecutor Calls Courthouse Pamphleteer’s Message a ‘Significant Threat’ in Jury Nullification Case

Posted Mar 22, 2012 4:32 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Pamphlets distributed by an 80-year-old retired chemistry professor outside a federal courthouse that inform passers-by about jury nullification do not represent a serious threat to the integrity of the justice system, a public defender this week told a federal judge in Manhattan.

But U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood disagreed, citing as a potential example hard-core abortion opponents who might be willing to excuse the slaying of a provider, Reuters reports.

"The thing here that is so troubling to the government is that the message ... undermines the fundamental fairness of our system," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Mermelstein said at a hearing on Wednesday. "If a person is on the steps of a courthouse and is trying to influence jurors, that is a crime."

She called the pamphlets the government says were distributed by Julian Heicklen outside numerous courthouses a "significant threat."

The Associated Press also has a story.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "NY Prosecutors Defend Jury Tampering Charges Against Courthouse Protester"

ABAJournal.com: "Law Prof Urges Not Guilty Vote in Pot Cases, Supports Man Arrested for Nullification Advocacy"

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