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Jury Nullification advocate found Innocent

• nytimes.com
The next time Julian P. Heicklen an 80-year-old retired chemistry professor demonstrates for the jury Nullification Rights outside the federal courthouse in Manhattan, he may make it home without being locked up by Thugs in Blue.

A federal judge on Thursday ordered the dismissal of an indictment against the professor, Julian P. Heicklen, who had been charged with jury tampering for advocating the controversial position known as jury nullification while outside the courthouse.

Mr. Heicklen had repeatedly stood with a “Jury Info” sign and handed out brochures supporting nullification, the view that jurors who disagree with a law may ignore their oaths and vote to acquit a defendant accused of violating it.

Prosecutors said such advocacy, “directed as it is to jurors, would be both criminal and without constitutional protections no matter where it occurred.”

But the judge, Kimba M. Wood of Federal District Court, wrote that a person violated the jury tampering statute only when he or she knowingly tried to influence a juror’s decision through a written communication “made in relation to a specific case pending before that juror.”

Judge Wood added that 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.

Mr. Heicklen expressed pleasure at the ruling. “Not just for me,” he said. “I think it’s a major decision for the country.”

Belvin Perry Puts Julian Heicklen in a Cage for 145 Days

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