Felony charge dropped for man after passing out jury rights fliers

MECOSTA COUNTY, Mich. – A felony charge for obstruction of justice was dropped Wednesday against a Mecosta man who passed out 'jury rights' pamphlets outside the Mecosta County Courthouse in November.

However, a pretrial will be set to continue with his misdemeanor charge for jury tampering.

Keith Wood, 39, faced the five-year felony for obstruction of justice, as well as the one-year misdemeanor charge of jury tampering after passing out about 50 jury rights pamphlets on the sidewalk in front of the Mecosta County courthouse.

Wood’s Attorney David Kallman was shocked at the charges he called “outrageous” and an attack on free speech. Wood’s story caused an uproar nationwide after he was arrested last Nov. 24, using his credit card to post bond set at $150,000.

Kallman said this case remains a civil rights violation of free speech.

"This is a free speech case absolutely because you heard the judge at the end say, ‘I’m taking that under advisement, I’m not ruling,’ because she wants to hear facts," said Kallman.

"Absolutely we’ll be pursuing the free speech arguments and everything you heard; there’s no illegal activity here."

As FOX 17 has reported, the Fully Informed Jury Association authored the pamphlets, which write it is a juror's right to vote their conscience. Also known as 'jury nullification', it's a controversial subject some believe is a juror's right according to jury instructions, while others believe it's unconstitutional.

Kallman made the point in court Wednesday that no Michigan statute criminalizes jury nullification, as he argued Wood incited nothing illegal by passing out these political speech pamphlets.

“We’ve heard from everybody from the ACLU to the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, to you name it," said Kallman.

“Really, it’s across the board everybody sees this, that this should not be happening.”

Still Mecosta County Prosecutor Brian Thiede argued Wood intentionally "polluted" the jury pool.

“With regard to the obstruction of justice, we do believe it’s a broader activity that’s being involved here, where you do pollute the entire jury panel," said Thiede in court.

"And certainly, if we were to allow Mr. Wood’s conduct here, we could have every trial stopped.”

Mecosta County Circuit Court Judge Kimberly Booher heard the district court case Wednesday after Judge Peter Jaklevic recused himself because he allegedly ordered Wood’s arrest back in November.

After dropping the felony, Judge Booher said the misdemeanor charge stands and defined a juror as anyone summoned for jury duty: "someone who is in the jury pool, or who has been selected to become a juror."

The court intends to refund Wood's $15,000 bond deposit in full, which is a rarity.

Wood told FOX 17 he has no intention of pleading guilty to jury tampering.

Stay with FOX 17 for pretrial coverage and further developments.

 

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16 comments

  • NO PC FOR ME

    People passing out copies of the Constitution have been arrested in liberal states. California, New York and Massachusetts.
    Apparently the leftist fear the constitution. This doesn’t surprise me. They can’t have people knowing their rights or the document that is the foundation of the republic.

  • Keith Honaker

    The citizen should sue the county and especially this prosecutor for millions…for even his future earnings. This kind of criminal behavior by those in power need to be rebuked and punished swiftly. We have gone down the wrong road for too long…these power mongers don’t know laws from rules from opinions now. THEY make it all up as THEY go along !

  • Keith Sykes

    Well of course they’d persecute him. He’s a nice looking white male displaying common sense. If he were a degenerate negro, he could rob, steal and kill and the police wouldn’t be allowed to bring him to justice because that would be “racism.”

  • Tom Speed

    It is NOT a crime, nor tampering, to hand out flyers, so long as, you do not ask people IF they are Jurors.

    Also, ‘the’ greatest book ever written on the Trial by Jury: http://www.barefootsworld.net/trial01.html
    “TRIAL BY JURY [Lysander Spooner]

    CHAPTER I – THE RIGHT OF JURIES TO JUDGE OF THE JUSTICE OF LAWS

    SECTION I.

    FOR more than six hundred years [Ed: Now eight] – that is, since Magna Carta, in 1215 – there has been no clearer principle of English or American constitutional law, than that, in criminal cases, it is not only the right and duty of juries to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what was the moral intent of the accused; but that it is also their right, and their primary and paramount duty, to judge of the justice of the law, and to hold all laws invalid, that are, in their opinion, unjust or oppressive, and all persons guiltless in violating, or resisting the execution of, such laws.

    Unless such be the right and duty of jurors, it is plain that, instead of juries being a “palladium of liberty “- a barrier against the tyranny and oppression of the government – they are really mere tools in its hands, for carrying into execution any injustice and oppression it may desire to have executed.

    But for their right to judge of the law, and the justice of the law, juries would be no protection to an accused person, even as to matters of fact; for, if the government can dictate to a jury any law whatever, in a criminal case, it can certainly dictate to them the laws of evidence. That is, it can dictate what evidence is admissible, and what inadmissible, and also what force or weight is to be given to the evidence admitted. And if the government can thus dictate to a jury the laws of evidence, it can not only make it necessary for them to convict on a partial exhibition of the evidence rightfully pertaining to the case, but it can even require them to convict on any evidence whatever that it pleases to offer them.”

    Read on!

    • Brent

      I disagree, If he wasnt on trial I would say fine, but the fact that he is, directly goes to his intentions. If this wasnt the case, why wasnt he doing that the day before, or the day after, or any other day for that matter? Only on the day when HIS jury was being selected? Why would he be standing in front of the courthouse, instead of the Mcdonalds? I have no problem with free speech, just have a problem with claiming it under False Pretenses!

      • Brent

        Disregard my comments, I read it as if he was being charged on a seperate crime and was then outside the court. Unable to edit the comments here it seems.