Friday, February 25, 2011

Will the Government Issue an Arrest Warrant for Tom Woods?

NYT reports:

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.

“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.
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.


  1. Isn't jury nullification addressed in the US Constitution?

    I read Woods' book Nullification and learned so much. I'm embarrassed to say I can't recall off hand.

  2. @Sean: yes and no. The Constitution does not explicitly define juries, but Daniel Webster did. In that day, a jury was assumed to have the right to decide both fact and law, and the Constitution, by guaranteeing the right to a jury trial, implicitly guaranteed that power of nullification.

    Since then, judges have attempted to redefine that power out of existence.

  3. Congratulations, Tom: Your name is now being employed to help promote Jury Nullification and the idea of a Fully Informed Jury! I wish EVERYONE would read the case of John Peter Zenger to recognize just how important this really is!

  4. powers not enumerated are reserved to the states and the people.....jury nullification leaves the power in it's final place as prescribed....