MECOSTA COUNTY, Mich. — A Michigan man is charged with a felony after he passed out jury nullification rights fliers in front of a courthouse.
Keith Wood, 39, is facing a felony charge for obstruction of justice and misdemeanor charge of tampering with a jury after he allegedly handed out 50 fliers, which the Fully Informed Jury Association wrote, that describe juror rights that are typically not given by judges during jury instructions before a trial.
Obstruction of justice is a five-year felony with up to $10,000 in fines, and attempting to influence jurors is a one-year misdemeanor with fines up to $1,000.
"When he (the Judge) told me the bond, again I was speechless," said Wood. "$150,000 bond for handing out a piece of paper on a public sidewalk? Speechless."
Wood posted bond and charged $15,000 to his credit card.
His attorney, Dave Kallman, told FOX 17 that he is working on getting that bond returned to his client.
Kallman believes the charges are an attack on free speech.
"It’s just a blatant illegal improper use of government power to squelch a person’s Constitutional rights of free speech, that’s what this is," said Kallman. "There has to be push-back, and judges and prosecutors and people need to know: you cannot squelch people’s free speech rights and get away with it."
"It’s free speech for goodness sake," said Kallman. "The Judge directly ordered him to be arrested for jury tampering, for tampering with a jury that didn’t exist, now wrap your head around that."
Wood says he was just trying to educate the public on jury rights.
"It's not illegal to fully inform jurors, it's just that judges don't do it anymore," said Wood. "To me, I just feel like the justice system would be much better off, and we the people would be much better off if jurors were fully informed again."
The pamphlets Wood handed out specifically discuss jurors' right to vote their conscience, also known as jury nullification of law.
Jury nullification occurs when a jury acquits a defendant, despite evidence, because they either believe the law is immoral or wrongfully applied.
Wood's preliminary hearing is set for next Tuesdsay.
He and Kallman want his charges dropped.
They are considering pursuing a federal lawsuit.
"I truly believe in my heart of hearts I didn’t do anything wrong, I didn’t break the law, so they need to drop all of the charges against me," said Wood.