Julian P. Heicklen sat silent and unresponsive as his bail hearing began last week in federal court in Manhattan; his eyes were closed, his head slumped forward.Woods is the author of the important book, Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century. Don't think, for a minute, that it is not a courageous act for Woods to write the types of books he does. In his latest book, Rollback, Woods shows that courage again by detailing how and why he would take a knife to the military budget.
“Mr. Heicklen?” the magistrate judge, Ronald L. Ellis, asked. “Mr. Heicklen? Is Mr. Heicklen awake?”
“I believe he is, your honor,” a prosecutor, Rebecca Mermelstein, said. “I think he’s choosing not to respond but is certainly capable of doing so.”
There was, in fact, nothing wrong with Mr. Heicklen, 78, who eventually opened his eyes and told the judge, “I’m exercising my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.”
Indeed, it was not his silence that landed Mr. Heicklen, a retired Penn State University chemistry professor, in court; it was what he had been doing outside the federal courthouse at 500 Pearl Street.
Since 2009, Mr. Heicklen has stood there and at courthouse entrances elsewhere and handed out pamphlets encouraging jurors to ignore the law if they disagree with it, and to render verdicts based on conscience.
That concept, called jury nullification, is highly controversial, and courts are hostile to it. But federal prosecutors have now taken the unusual step of having Mr. Heicklen indicted on a charge that his distributing of such pamphlets at the courthouse entrance violates the law against jury tampering. He is to appear in court on Friday for a conference in his case.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Will the Government Issue an Arrest Warrant for Tom Woods?