Score one for Liberty.
The good news this morning (or rather from April 23) is an intelligent decision from Manhattan U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood on protecting the First Amendment, as well as upholding the ancient right of jury nullification.
The background story is here.
Some background analysis from Gary North is here.
Here is what is so egregious about the decision. The following excerpted is from the FBI wire:
Heicklen then allegedly talked to the agent at great length about the role nullification played in guaranteeing freedom of religion in the trial of William Penn, for preaching Quakerism, and freedom of the press in the trial of John Peter Zenger, for criticizing the king during colonial times.
Wood described Heicklen’s acts of conscience, which prosecutors sought to punish with a maximum six-month sentence.
Seriously?! Some jackass Federal prosecutor sought to punish an elderly American gentleman with a six-month stint in prison for talking about his rights?!
The FBI agents were just doing their job, which, let’s face it, wasn’t that hard to do with a man standing in the street handing out pamphlets. Perhaps a reminder might be in order for the FBI agents that is it allowable to disregard an illegal order, in the same vein as American soliders are allowed to disobey an illegal order from a superior if it morally wrong, such as shooting unarmed prisoners.
However, fire the prosecutor(s) immediately. There is no place in an American legal system for an individual(s) with such a flawed conscious. I would also recommend that this individual(s) begin court-mandated treatment in a state mental institution for psychopathic behavior.
To actually think that Mr. Heicklen’s actions were in some way tampering with a jury is obscene.
What was attempted here was the Establishment trying to influence an American’s right to free speech and inform other Americans about their rights, and using the court system to intimidate him, as well as using the hight costs of legal representation as a bludgeon, in the same way the Mafia uses such subtle tactics to influence behavior. Disgusting, absolutely disgusting.
An immediate investigation should be launched by the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI into the U.S. Attorney’s office which filed this “case” and find out the breadth and depth of this appaling conspiracy against an American’s basic right. Someone, somewhere told the U.S. Attorney’s office to do this, and that person or organization needs to be publicly identified so the justice system can work the right way.
That ain’t gonna happen, unfortunately. For that would require something neither party has–a moral compass.