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February 25, 2011

Feds prosecuting active NY advocate of jury nullification

Today's New York Times has this really interesting article about a really notable federal prosecution of a really interesting proponent of jury nullification.  The piece is headlined "Jury Nullification Advocate Faces Indictment," and here are excerpts:

[I]t 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.

Mr. Heicklen insists that he never tries to influence specific jurors or cases, and instead gives his brochures to passers-by, hoping that jurors are among them. But he feels his message must be getting out, or the government would not have brought charges against him.

“If I weren’t having any effect, would they do this?” said Mr. Heicklen, whose former colleagues recall him as a talented and unconventional educator. “You don’t have to be a genius to figure this thing out.” Prosecutors declined to comment on his case, as did Sabrina Shroff, a lawyer who was assigned to assist Mr. Heicklen. (He is acting as his own lawyer.)

He said his activism on nullification dated back to just after he retired in the early 1990s, when he openly smoked marijuana in State College, Pa., to get arrested as a protest against marijuana laws. For this, he was arrested about five times. Mr. Heicklen has said that he otherwise does not smoke marijuana.

Around the same time, he learned about a group called the Fully Informed Jury Association, which urges jurors to nullify laws with which they disagree. Mr. Heicklen, of Teaneck, N.J., said he distributed the group’s materials as well as his own. “I don’t want them to nullify the murder laws,” he said. “I’m a big law-and-order guy when it comes to real crime.” But, he said, there were other laws he wanted to nullify, like drug and gambling laws.

“This is classic political advocacy,” said Christopher T. Dunn, associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “Unless the government can show that he’s singling out jurors to influence a specific verdict, it’s squarely protected by the First Amendment, and they should dismiss the case.”

But Daniel C. Richman, a former prosecutor who teaches criminal law at Columbia, said there was an interest in ensuring the integrity of the jury process. “The government has to walk a fine First Amendment line bringing these charges,” he said, “but lawless jury behavior is certainly of concern to it, too.”

Mr. Heicklen says that when he stands outside the court, he holds a sign that reads “Jury Info” to draw people to him. “Sometimes they think I’m official,” he said. He answers questions and advises that jurors have the right to nullify.

Jessica A. Roth, a Cardozo law professor, said such activities could confuse and mislead jurors, since “the information he’s giving these people is likely to be in direct conflict with the instructions they will receive from a judge if they are jurors in a case.” Mr. Heicklen, a Cornell graduate, taught for more than 20 years at Penn State, where he was a faculty member known for his innovative methods, former colleagues said.... Barbara J. Garrison, who heads the Penn State chemistry department, called Mr. Heicklen “an enormously creative scientist” who “really liked to think outside the box and sometimes that meant that he ran counter to the establishment.”

About his earlier marijuana arrests, Ms. Garrison said, “He had his own way of doing it, but he was really fighting for people who were in jail that he didn’t think belonged in jail.”

Court records show Mr. Heicklen has been cited at least six times since October 2009 for distributing fliers without a permit at the entrance of the Manhattan federal courthouse. But the violations, which carry fines, do not depend on the content of his message. If convicted of the jury tampering charge, he could face a six-month sentence.

Thoughts, dear readers?

February 25, 2011 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I think it's great that this guy is bringing public attention to this issue. In the federal system, at least, various surveys show that the public does not support draconian sentencing guidelines/sentences for some offenses (e.g. drug possession), and typical jury instructions forbid jurors from considering the possible sentence, if indeed jurors are told what the possible sentence would be. To have the jury flying blind in this way undermines the legitimacy of the whole process and in particular, the retribution justification for punishment, in cases where actual sentences exceed most people's sense of appropriate punishment.

Posted by: Anon | Feb 25, 2011 12:36:07 PM

I think this is an ill conceived prosecution.

Posted by: beth | Feb 25, 2011 1:41:14 PM

(1) He is not targeting specific jurors or specific cases, and as I understand jury tampering law, that's the sine qua non.

(2) He is not saying anything wrong. Jury nullification, while frowned upon, is not illegal--and juries do it with some frequency for stupid laws. (see esp. anti-sodomy laws, when they were still around)

(3) If pamphleteering about jury nullification constitutes jury tampering, why not also books or articles written on it? This case would set a horrible precedent for free speech.

I don't see how this prosecution sticks. And even if it could in theory, I would hope that a jury would nullify Mr. Heicklen's trial.

Did I just land myself a prosecution as well!?

Posted by: Res ipsa | Feb 25, 2011 2:06:41 PM

Zenger comes full circle. Jury nullification blocked prosecution for speech; now free speech should block prosecution for advocating jury nullification.

Posted by: Def. Atty | Feb 25, 2011 3:53:54 PM

1. Almost all the jury nullification stuff is driven by disagreement with drug laws. The answer to that, of course, is to get Congress to change them. Mr. Heicklen is not Congress and neither is a jury.

2. Which leads to the broader point, which is that the social compact, as understood in this country, means that the electoral minority -- about drug laws or any others -- agrees to abide by the law the people's representatives have in place at the moment, in exchange for the benefits of the rule of law generally.

If you want to just do your own thing, regardless of law, fine, there's a "system" for that. It's called the "law" of the jungle. Have at it.

It has another name too, that being vigilantism.

Still, let me ask if it works both ways. If the town bully is tried for an assault, but the government's evidence in that particular case doesn't clear the hurdle of BRD, should the jury convict anyway, on the theory that the legally required BRD standard fails to do justice to this known thug? Why not?

When each idiosyncratic jury gets to be its own Congress, I guarantee you you'll get results you won't like. You think what's going to happen is a bunch of rump acquittals. But acquitting is not the only option for a lawless jury.

Not that lawless juries fail to acquit. Sixty and seventy years ago, lawless juries refused to convict plainly guilty whites who had beaten (or murdered) blacks, on exactly the theory nullifiers embrace: If you think the law is wrong, or is being used by the government in a way you dislike, you can ignore it.

If you want to bring back those days, have at it. Nullification theory is the quickest way there.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 25, 2011 4:03:51 PM

Let's be sure to distinguish between victimless crimes and murder. /s/ former juror

Posted by: Jerry | Feb 25, 2011 4:16:47 PM

LOL talk about a retard of a DA. This guy was doing what handing out pamplets to a limited amount of people at one location. Now thanks to this idiot of a DA his ideal has now been spread to the entire world...thanks to this bogus prosecution..... Of course maybe the DA agrees with him....and this is the DA's way of spreading the word!

Posted by: rodsmith | Feb 25, 2011 6:03:35 PM

The gov't does millions of things, some stupid. This is one of them. Some retired professor hands pamphlets out. He isn't targeting any one case here. Are we back to the day when handing out pamphlets against the draft was not a violation of the 1A because the draft was inhibited somehow?

Posted by: Joe | Feb 25, 2011 6:18:15 PM

Perhaps they should arrest Just Weinstein, too. Remember his extended historical account of nullification in US v. Polizzi, 549 F. Supp. 2d 308 (EDNY 2008)?

"When a jury refuses to convict on the basis of what it thinks is an unjust law as applied, a misconceived prosecution, or an excessive penalty, it is performing exactly its role imposed by the Sixth Amendment. As the following discussion demonstrates, these powers of the jury were exercised consistently by jurors before, and for many years after, the Sixth Amendment was adopted."

Posted by: FedDef | Feb 25, 2011 8:51:54 PM

Perhaps they should arrest Judge Weinstein, too. Remember his extended historical account of nullification in US v. Polizzi, 549 F. Supp. 2d 308 (EDNY 2008)?

"When a jury refuses to convict on the basis of what it thinks is an unjust law as applied, a misconceived prosecution, or an excessive penalty, it is performing exactly its role imposed by the Sixth Amendment. As the following discussion demonstrates, these powers of the jury were exercised consistently by jurors before, and for many years after, the Sixth Amendment was adopted."

Posted by: FedDef | Feb 25, 2011 8:52:43 PM

I hope this case goes forward so we can have more data to convince the public about the persecution (prosecution) of people who disagree with government apologists.

Bill:

It is not just drug laws. Congress is more than useless. We are at this point in time because we are ignorant. Read Missouri's Senator James A. Reed's 1926 speech to the Senate: "What We Need is Less Law'.

We have the Tyranny of the Republic, rather than tyranny by tyrant.

The platitudes that we are free are just that, platitudes.

Posted by: albeed | Feb 25, 2011 9:41:30 PM

Bill, regardless of the merits or demerits of jury nullification, do you believe Mr. Heicklen should be prosecuted for handing out pamphlets?

Posted by: Chris | Feb 25, 2011 9:43:42 PM

FedDef --

Then I take it Judge Weinstein would have no problem with a racist jury of the kind I noted, since such a jury likewise refused to convict "on the basis of what it thinks is an unjust law as applied, a misconceived prosecution, or an excessive penalty."

Mississippi juries of the kind I described routinely and passionately believed that ANY penalty was "excessive" for a white person accused of abusing a black. Hence their lawless acquittals.

Judge Weinstein is welcome to them.

P.S. If you're a federal defender, as your screen name suggests, do you argue to the jury: "This law is wrong and unfair, and the prosecutor is a tinhorn tyrant to boot. Thus, even if the government has proved its case, you can and should acquit."

Is that what you say? Since the presumably authoritative Judge Weinstein backs you up, why not? Maybe because he's not that authoritative after all?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 25, 2011 10:01:58 PM

Juries are just one set of protections: Prosecutorial discretion, grand jury indictment (in certain cases), trial judge, petit jury, appellate court. Each and every hurdle must be passed to put a person in jail. That this is a federal prosecution is shameful for us all; the Obama Administration -- AG Holder, in particular -- should be embarrassed. I hope that the district judge (preliminary hearing!), jury, or appellate court will prevent this miscarriage of justice.

"You are the judges of the facts and the law" is one of the oldest continuous jury instructions that we have. It means what the authors of the Bill of Rights understood: the local jury is a check on the power of a far-away Congress and President. The history on jury nullification is not even close; it's an intrinsic part of our constitutional structure. I may disagree with a jury's decision to nullify in a given case, but it's not really subject to reasonable debate that the Constitution grants them that unreviewable power. The United States' efforts to punish this guy for exercising his 1st Amdt rights to inform jurors of their 6th Amendment powers is a travesty.

I hope someone steps up from a big firm in NY and represents this guy (even as advisors) for free. They'd do it for Guantanamo detainees; they should do it for him. Frankly, in my opinion, this case is more important than the Guantanamo cases.

Posted by: Mark Pickrell | Feb 25, 2011 10:20:07 PM

Based on reading the article, it appears that no jury will be present to protect this defendant. Too bad -- one less protection he'll get. I wonder (not really -- ;)) if the prosecutor charged the case this way to avoid having a jury decide the issue.

Bill's repeated reliance on Mississippi juries' abuse of jury nullification as an argument against the notion of jury nullification is most curious. There have been many instances of prosecutorial abuses in failing to charge certain people, yet no one seriously argues to get rid of prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutorial discretion is simply a part of our constitutional system. (Other countries -- Germany for example -- have a different constitutional understanding about the role of prosecutors.) In the United States, that a power granted by the Constitution is sometimes abused is not a reasonable argument against recognizing the existence of the power. Under our Constitution, we know that power is abused. The genius of the Framers is that they created a system in which multiple checks are intentionally designed to protect us from governmental abuses of power, which we know, in advance, will be attempted.

The view of many federal prosecutors and many federal judges against jury nullification should not be surprising. The Sixth Amendment was and is a direct check on their powers. That's why ordinary citizens, reporters, and an independent Bar (and, ultimately, Judge Wood or two-out-of-three 2d Cir judges) are apparently this guy's best protection.

Posted by: Mark Pickrell | Feb 25, 2011 10:55:59 PM

Mississippi juries of the kind I described routinely and passionately believed that ANY penalty was "excessive" for a white person accused of abusing a black. Hence their lawless acquittals.

Bill:

Why are Mississippi's laws now invoked, to describe your precious federal government's prosecutorial abilities?

I see. You are double dipping for your wealth, first as a federal protector of the republic, and now, as an educator of future brown shirts.

Goebbel's would have been so proud of you.

Quit teaching right now!

Posted by: albeed | Feb 25, 2011 11:16:53 PM

Bill: You ask, "If the town bully is tried for an assault, but the government's evidence in that particular case doesn't clear the hurdle of BRD, should the jury convict anyway, on the theory that the legally required BRD standard fails to do justice to this known thug? Why not?"

Whether they should or not, we've already got a correction built into the system for when that happens, and that's a defense challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. What makes people uncomfortable about jury nullification is that there is no counterbalancing way of correcting things.

Posted by: arfarf | Feb 25, 2011 11:23:16 PM

Mark Pickrell --

Let me ask you the same (unanswered) question I asked FedDef: Do you argue to the jury: "This law is wrong and unfair, and the prosecutor is a tinhorn tyrant to boot. Thus, even if the government has proved its case, you can and should acquit."

Is that what you argue?

I doubt it, but if you say otherwise, I'll take your word for it. The reason I doubt it is that, as you acknowledge towards the end of your comment, "... many federal judges [are] against jury nullification."

This of course is another way of saying that the great weight of precedent is against your position. In this you are correct.

You also directly imply that the many judges and prosecutors opposing nullification hold their position only for the unprincipled reason that it enhances their power. You might consider, however, that they hold their postion not because of some ad hominem flaw, but because they think it correct for the social compact-related reasons I set forth. However, from aught that appears in your comment, this is not the case. The only reason someone (indeed, most of the judiciary) might differ from Your Higher Wisdom is that they are bad, power-grabbing people.

My goodness.


Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 26, 2011 12:37:42 AM

Chris --

Fair enough question.

I don't know. I have learned that trying to answer a question like that when one has only a newspaper account is unwise. The prosecution seems dicey, but I'm sure more than a few smart and experienced people, both in the SDNY at at Main Justice, took a look at it, since it's an obvious lightning rod. There could well be things about the defendant's behavior that we (or certianly I), don't know.

Now if you have more to say about jury nullification in general, I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 26, 2011 12:45:26 AM

All legal costs should come from the personal assets of the prosecutor. That jury association might find him, beat his ass, just take a strap or horsewhip to him til he hollers, turn themselves in. No jury will convict them.

I would demand discovery on the prosecutor. I would demand a Daubert hearing on jury practice. It is anti-scientific Medieval trash. I would demand a Daubert hearing on the laws that were allegedly nullified. If they have no basis in evidence, contain supernatural doctrines, were passed for the improper motive of lawyer rent seeking, then nullification would be of a crime, a bad faith theft from the public. If the jury had some advantage over single judges in 1275 AD, the lawyer has destroyed all of its good features. He now excludes people with knowledge. The voting is not secret. It is possible a first secret vote will be more accurate than a judge's judgment. After that, all verdicts reflect the opinion of the biggest loudmouth bully, and the rest who just want to go home.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 26, 2011 6:35:48 AM

Hmmm, perhaps the import of a jury qua jury has slipped from the minds of your readers since Apprendi is no longer quite as "hot" as it was? The history of jury nullification extends to , in our USA/G.B line, 1200's with the events which led up to Magna Carta. It has been utilized much more to nullify "bad law" than to free those "horribles" of racism (Miss. instances cited above). Rather than go on and on may I put a few links in here? Perhaps some will even follow them. The power of the jury is such as to put me, for one, in awe of it as an institution.
http://www.njweedman.com/history_of_jurynullification.htm

http://www.google.com/search?q=jury+nullification+english+history&hl=en&prmd=ivns&tbs=tl:1&tbo=u&ei=Ch1pTY2zFYOKlweSzpH_AQ&sa=X&oi=timeline_result&ct=title&resnum=11&ved=0CGsQ5wIwCg
\

I hope these will stimulate some meaningful discussion ( no slight intended to S.C. ;) ) among the readers of this blog. Perhaps another Apprendi?

Posted by: Tim Rudisill | Feb 26, 2011 11:01:53 AM

Tim: I hope the defendant in this case will request a jury trial.

Are you implying the suggestion for a motion for a Daubert hearing in a criminal case is not meaningful discussion? You should try it. This tactic favors the defense since the prosecution carries the burden of proof, but is saddled with a host of supernatural doctrines unlawful under our secular nation's Establishment Clause. It is saddled with gas filled theatrics, requiring only a pinprick to deflate.

The defense does not want to rock the boat, nor scare the prosecution in any way. The job of the defense comes from the prosecution, not from the interests of the client. The prosecution is to be treated with kid gloves, no matter what right of the client is violated. And only marginal procedural minutiae are to be moved upon, never any disruptive claim. After work, the defense and prosecution go for drinks, and mock the stupidity of the public. A regular commenter here once told me that.

For example, what do you think of the scientific validity of the second open vote in the jury room, after a disagreement has arisen in the first secret ballot? Is it lack of validation a factor in the appalling rate of false convictions? Is it OK to have one bullying loud mouth impose an opinion on 11 regular people who just want to go home? Is that scientifically valid?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 26, 2011 11:46:50 AM

Bill,

Of course I don't use such a ham-handed argument to a jury. I'm a much better defense attorney than that. I use the court's own, time-honored instruction, "Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, you are the judge of the law and the facts." Judge of the law means judge of the law.

The funny thing about constitutional law is that we have both judicial precedent and historical precedent. You are right that many judicial dedcisions oppose jury nullification. There are, however, many judicial decisions (Weinstein's being one) that recognize the time-honored power of a jury to simply refuse to convict. As to historical precedent, Justice Chase's smackdown in the face of an independent jury was a seminal moment in our nation's history -- far more important than any judicial opinion regarding jury nullification that you can cite.. Rarely taught in law school (unsurprisingly, because it was a historical event and not a judicial opinion), it remains a key moment in U.S. history regarding restraint of the power of the judiciary.

Your arguments above are the epitome of poor rhetoric. Hyperbolic (putting the words "the prosecutor is a tin-horn tyrant" into the straightforward arguments of others with whom you disagree). Straw-man (saying that I "directly imply" that prosecutors and judges oppose jury nullification "only for the unprincipled reason that it enhances their power"). Ad hominem ("Your Higher Wisdom"). I'm sure you've got a non sequitur in there as well to round out a weak-argument four-bagger, there's just no point in looking for it.

With such poor arguments to back you up, it really doesn't matter whether you dodge Chris' question above.

Posted by: Mark Pickrell | Feb 26, 2011 11:51:43 AM


TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 73 > § 1504

§ 1504. Influencing juror by writing

Whoever attempts to influence the action or decision of any grand or petit juror of any court of the United States upon any issue or matter pending before such juror, or before the jury of which he is a member, or pertaining to his duties, by writing or sending to him any written communication, in relation to such issue or matter, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the communication of a request to appear before the grand jury.

******

I don't know if this is the statute under which the prosecution is proceeding. However, the key phrase is, "... in relation to such issue or matter..." The pamphlet has no "case specific" content. Nor is there knowledge whether the person taking the pamphlet is or will ever become a juror. Unless the judge makes this communication a strict liability crime, the charge lacks intent.

Although this is a misdemeanor, the fines are limitless, the 6 months potential sentence is a long one for a defendant with little time left to live. The judge will deny him, but his demand for a jury trial should preserve an appellate argument.

If the judge agrees and finds the defendant not guilty, the original charge should be deemed frivolous. It could only be brought by someone who has not read the statute carefully. The defendant should move to have all legal costs, including court costs, come from the personal assets of the prosecutor. Discovery should include all attorney work products because communications inside the prosecutor office would reveal an improper motive. If an improper motive can be found in the internal communication, all supervisors should be subjected to punitive damages from personal assets. I understand the absolute immunity from tort liability the SC has granted prosecutors. This is not a tort claim. The assessment of costs would be a judge's ruling on a motion in a criminal case, better covered by criminal contempt of court considerations.

I predict, win or lose, the prosecutor who thought up this case will be working outside of government before the end of 2012. The same will be true for the horrible, vile feminist judge, failing to dismiss sue sponte, as a matter of law, this retaliatory, ridiculous, frivolous charge against a frail old man.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 26, 2011 12:33:29 PM

If this victim of lawyer vendetta is convicted, I hope he gets sick in jail, and generates a $million health bill. For example, he requires a heart transplant or a sex change operation. To deter.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 26, 2011 12:41:32 PM


Mark Pickrell --

"Of course I don't use such a ham-handed argument to a jury. I'm a much better defense attorney than that."

If you say so.

"Your arguments above are the epitome of poor rhetoric."

Didn't know that you were appointed to grade my paper. When did that happen?

"Straw-man (saying that I 'directly imply' that prosecutors and judges oppose jury nullification 'only for the unprincipled reason that it enhances their power')."

That is exactly what you did. And you don't withdraw the accusation even now. This is just so typical: There is no such thing as reasoned disagreement with your position. Prosecutors and judges oppose nullification because they want power, and that's as far as it goes.

Should I say that defense lawyers FAVOR nullification because their clients are almost always factually guilty and the most promising way to avoid conviction is to focus on the supposed unfairness of the law? A stance like that would have the advantage of being largely true, but I avoid such a broad brush nonetheless, since there are those whose support for nullification is based on principle. You might consider stowing the high-handedness and adopt an analogous approach, conceding that a reasoned (rather than merely self-intersted) argument can be made AGAINST nullification. Will you?

As for Chris's question, I am not about to hazzard a guess on bringing a particular prosecution when all I know about it comes from five minutes of reading one newspaper report. If you think that a news account is a sufficient basis to make a judgment of that kind, have at it. I don't. Circumspection in the face of limited information is ordinary prudence, not "dodging." You would know this if you had ever had to weigh bringing what is sure to be a prominent case like this one.

What IS dodging is your gliding around the outrageous racist acquittals I noted, acquittals that you could not and do not deny were grounded squarely in nullification theory. Instead of acknowledging this ugly fact, you whistle past it by analogizing it to the use, or misuse, of prosecutorial discretion -- something that you say (correctly) the system has learned to tolerate because it's preferable to the alternatives.

The problem with this answer, as you sort of acknowledge, is that the system does NOT live with lawyers telling the jury that it may acquit a defendant proven to be factually guilty if it disapproves of the law under which he is charged. The reason neither you nor any other sensate lawyer will say that isn't any great cleverness. It's that saying it would very likely get you held in contempt; as you (now) admit, the weight of caselaw disowns your position.

The other problem with your answer to race-based nullification (which, of course, would be even more prevalent if lawyers were allowed to argue nullification's propriety) is not difficult to detect. That the legal system, for practical and historical reasons, tolerates one bad thing (occasional misuse of prosecutorial discretion), is scarcely a reason that it should now indulge YET ANOTHER bad thing (jury lawlessness and vigilantism) to boot. It is, to the contrary, a reason more steadfastly to resist, rather than welcome, the second bad thing.

Finally, if you want to continue this discussion, you can cut out the dismissive language you use. You are not my superior, and I'll be happy to match my litigation record against yours. If, on the other hand, you don't want to continue it, that's OK with me. I am not here to seek your approval.


Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 26, 2011 1:52:11 PM

Isn't it possible that jury nullification will happen more frequently when citizens do not respect and have confidence in those who make the law and those who enforce it.

I suspect that this is a possibility and it is a critical problem for those who govern. Serious back peddling would be in order.

Posted by: beth | Feb 26, 2011 2:35:30 PM

Bill: Small format comment of relevance because lawyers continue to brief this way.

You would know this if you had 10th Grade World History or Western Civ 101. Being very bright, you likely aced the above subjects.

So how come neither you nor your top notch law profs, nor any other lawyer in the country knew this source of the ultimate expression of IRAC and of briefing, nor the technical meaning of the word, reason?

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2090.htm

Reply: Law school indoctrination made you forget high school and freshman year of college.

No lawyer knows this, including Harvard Law grads with a PhD in History of Medieval Law. Every academic high school kid with decent grades knows about it.

It is a phenomenon.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 26, 2011 3:16:10 PM

Anyone opposing race based nullification by judges should have opposed the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 26, 2011 3:17:11 PM

"Jessica A. Roth, a Cardozo law professor, said such activities could confuse and mislead jurors, since “the information he’s giving these people is likely to be in direct conflict with the instructions they will receive from a judge if they are jurors in a case.”

No, you biased, criminal cult indoctrinated, vile feminist lawyer. The jury knows exactly the bogus nature of the legal system, having experienced it everywhere they go on the road, work, and live. They know the judge is a pompous buffoon and a lazy, worthless government worker, in her Halloween outfit. They know the sole validity of most of the regulations and laws comes from the point of a gun.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 26, 2011 6:58:56 PM

Distributing fliers without a permit? Jury tampering?

So much for the First Amendment.

The message is clear. If the feds decide to get you, they'll find a way.

It's also a powerful reminder of why the federal government wasn't supposed to get this involved in the policing of virtually anything it wanted to police. National cops aren't accountable to local authorities when they abuse their power.

Counterfeiting and piracy were supposed to be the extent of it. But of course that was before the feds twisted the Commerce Clause into what today amounts to the National Police Force Establishment Act.

Ask a local cop or police chief why they're hassling a local professor for speaking his mind on the courthouse steps, and there's a resonable expectation that someone will feel compelled to offer a rational explanation.

Ask the feds why they do things like this and they simply blow you off...and there's nobody to see to complain about it. They do it because they can.

Posted by: John K | Feb 26, 2011 10:50:07 PM

SC wrote:

"I predict, win or lose, the prosecutor who thought up this case will be working outside of government before the end of 2012. The same will be true for the horrible, vile feminist judge, failing to dismiss sue sponte, as a matter of law, this retaliatory, ridiculous, frivolous charge against a frail old man."

SC: You are wrong. They will both be promoted and displayed as people of justice and fairness.

Please read Frederick Bastiat's "The Law" about 1848.

Posted by: albeed | Feb 26, 2011 11:03:30 PM

Bill:

You apologist you:

I know, you are limited by your mental pre-inclinations.

I will only speak to the FBI or DOJ if I have a lawyer and a video cam present. And then, I may get beat up to take the Video-Cam from me.

Why?

Do not pretend ignorance.

Posted by: albeed | Feb 26, 2011 11:48:57 PM

Jurors have the power to nullify. That is an attribute of a system which interposes a decision of citizens between a charge and a conviction. It really is that simple, and this guy has every right to inform people of the facts and advocate his view on nullification. This is an overreach. It's not a prosecution I would bring.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 27, 2011 12:12:46 AM

i agree i've said that for years....a jury has a couple of jobs to do

first....is the individual charged GUILTY or NOT GUILTY of the crime charged. If NON-GUILTY everything is done

IF it's GUILTY

then comes next job

Was the law fair and reasonable. Is the punishment Fair and reasonable. If yes

HE'S GULITY

if NO

NOT GUILTY!

that is the final check on our govt. It can pass al the idiotic and illegal laws it wants..but once it get's too far into the twilight zone the public has the right to simply ignore any attempt to force them to convict people for them!

Posted by: rodsmith | Feb 27, 2011 1:49:23 AM

federalist --

"Jurors have the power to nullify."

That is correct. They have the power to return an acquittal for any reason or no reason.

The question is whether they have the RIGHT to nullification. They do not, which is why judges are not required to inform them of this power. See Sparf v. United States, 156 U.S. 51 (1895); see also United States v. Thomas, 116 F.3d 606 (2nd Cir.1997)(holding that a trial judge has a duty to remove a juror who makes it clear that he or she is refusing to perform a juror ’s legal duty to weigh the evidence in a case, using instead some personal standard of justice)("We categorically reject the idea that, in a society committed to the rule of law, jury nullification is desirable or that courts may permit it to occur when it is within their authority to prevent. Accordingly, we conclude that a juror who intends to nullify the applicable law is no less subject to dismissal than is a juror who disregards the court's instructions due to an event or relationship that renders him biased or otherwise unable to render a fair and impartial verdict.").

Judge Weinstein is entitled to his minority view. He is not more authoritative than the Second Circuit and the Supreme Court.

If each jury gets to be its own Congress, why have a Congress to start with? As I have argued before on this thread, the social compact requires those disagreeing with current law to respect it anyway, in exchange for the considerable benefits of living under the rule of law. If they can get it changed in the future, fine. Until they do, they don't get to do their own thing.

It is for exactly this reason, incidentally, that those categorically opposed to the DP are disqualified from jury service in a capital case. Under the theory that nullification is a juror's right, that would have to be reversed. A single juror opposed to his state's DP could prevent the will of the people, expressed in law, from being implemented -- not because the state had failed to prove the statuory aggravators, but because of that juror's personal (and sometimes crackpot) view -- one that he could not persuade a majority of the electorate to accept.

That is the rule of idiosyncasy, not the rule of law.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 27, 2011 3:06:22 AM

Albeed: Today, if one generates negative press, whether justified or not, one has to leave government employ, or get driven out by supervisors. Even if the prosecution had videotape of the defendant trying to bribe or threaten a juror, they would still have to go due to the bullying of an old man story. They certainly do not have evidence of any case specific juror influence. All they have is a person exercising First Amendment rights. uttering protected political speech. This is the false use of the law. It should be deterred by assessing legal costs and punitive damages on all involved.

I think Bill would have seen this effect from the inside, and his comment is appreciated. I would also like to know if federal prosecutors are at will employees without civil service protections. If they are at will employees, they may be fired for disobeying their political appointee leaders.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 27, 2011 6:01:43 AM

SC --

"I would also like to know if federal prosecutors are at will employees without civil service protections. If they are at will employees, they may be fired for disobeying their political appointee leaders."

The United States Attorney is a political appointee and serves essentially at will. Assistant US Attorneys, by contrast, have civil service protection.

It is, however, a bit more complicated than that. Even if an AUSA cannot be fired outright except for cause, you can be demoted, or the Office can just give you a lousy assignment, such as working in magistrate's court, or being exiled to a branch office in the middle of nowhere.

I was a division chief (appeals) and, though I had civil service protection while in the USAO, I viewed myself as more politically accountable than the line AUSA's. I thus let each US Attorney I worked for (both Republican and Democrat) know that, if they wanted me out, I would leave quietly and not invoke any civil service rights.

In part I did this because clearing the air in that way gave me greater independence. The other part was that I believe, as President Obama does (when it suits his purposes) that elections have consequences. If the way I represented the United States made my political superiors at any given time uncomfortable, it was, in my view, their prerogative to get rid of me, civil service notwithstanding.

The result of this, by the way, was that each of my US Attorneys backed me 100% when I got in a fight with Main Justice, and that, in part because of that backing, I won most of those fights.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 27, 2011 12:42:22 PM

"There is no guarantee of a specific progression, career path or series of unit assignments. Every assignment is based first and foremost on the needs of the Office." And, "This website deals with the process of hiring Assistant District Attorneys, Interns and Paralegals. Nearly all other positions in the District Attorney's Office are subject to Civil Service hiring requirements."

From a DA website. http://www.phila.gov/districtattorney/careers_InProsecution.html

Everyone but the lawyer has civil service status.

Should the will of the electorate get expressed through the discretions of the prosecution or solely impact lawmaking in the legislature? This is reminiscent of legal realism on the bench. Legal realism is flexible to accommodate social change but scary for the out of favor new target group. Bill made himself into an at will employee voluntarily because he believes in and accepts elections. Here is a hypothetical. Drug cartels from Mexico are so rich, they buy out downtown stores, companies, service providers. These legitimate business with Anglo leaders donate huge sums toward the election of the DA. That gives the businesses "access." They tell the DA his aggressive anti-drug dealer campaign has reduced the $billion coming into the neighborhood from outsiders buying illegal drugs. This money sustains the appliance store, the travel agency, the plumber and doctor, everyone who works locally. Find another priority.

Such pressure on prosecutorial and police discretion (police are the agents of the prosecutor) is a form of stealthy repeal of legislation, especially in the criminal code. One may believe that drug prohibition is wrong, so this development is welcome. What about the public lynching of 1000's of rich blacks and Jews, in front of mobs of a 1000 people, then seizing their assets, with absolute immunity from prosecution, as was the case from 1876 to 1926, in most of the South? Yes, federal judges ruled against discrimination in the 1960's. What is less well known is that federal judges had to run for their lives to other states. The discretion of local federal prosecutors failed to protect them.

Ironic. Twilight Zone lawyer moment.

Federal prosecutors charge an old man for advocating jury nullification by lawful political speech. They in turn refuse to prosecute 90% of the federal crimes committed each year. Their discretion is the bigger nullification by many orders of magnitude.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 27, 2011 1:32:11 PM

Once again, Mr. Bill's binary thinking is flawed. The option is not limited to a denial of jury nullification else a rebirth of the KKK. Mr. Bill ignores the probability that many jurors were either tampered with or threatened. We cannot assume that in a era of lynchings every juror condoned it. As within any tyranny, there were infiltrators who spied on citizens and the citizens were afraid to challenge tyranny (like in Egypt). The solution was not the death of jury nullification, but was the death of tyranny (as the Bill of Rights envisioned, which was also the purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment). No matter the political platform, the curbing of the secret police and infiltrators is necessary and sufficient to ensure freedom.

Posted by: George | Feb 27, 2011 2:02:58 PM

George --

"Once again, Mr. Bill's binary thinking is flawed. The option is not limited to a denial of jury nullification else a rebirth of the KKK. Mr. Bill ignores the probability that many jurors were either tampered with or threatened."

Unfortunately, racism was endemic among whites in the South three generations ago. Blacks were not regarded as fully human. This is difficult for people in this day and time to get their minds around, but that's how it was.

Still, George, if you have any specific evidence that white jurors from those days were tampered with or threatened, I'm open to it.

Lastly, we see once again how far off the beaten path defense bar thinking can be. My suggestion that jurors in a democracy should follow the law their legislature has adopted -- hardly an incendiary idea -- gets greeted with howls of outrage.

The outrage is similar, though the din not quite as loud, as that generated when I made the earlier incendiary suggestion that defense lawyers (and all lawyers) should just be forthcoming and tell the truth, rather than try to put on the fancy dance.

Yikes.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 27, 2011 3:17:56 PM

The concept of widespread racist nullification is one that I doubt Bill has researched. I have, and found that it did not stand up to critical investigation: the jurys involved were blamed for racist judges, prosecutors and investigators who insured that few of those juries saw evidence that would justify a conviction. Moreover, the racist jury selection techniques allowed back then ensured that jurors did not have to justify their vote to those who might question it. You can see my article, Scapegoating the Jury, 7 Cornell Jrl. Law & Pub. Pol'y 7 (1997).

Posted by: Clay S. Conrad | Feb 27, 2011 3:27:04 PM

SC --

"Bill made himself into an at will employee voluntarily because he believes in and accepts elections."

What is the alternative to believing in and accepting elections? What it turns out to be, realistically, is that public officials, which is what I was, use their positions to advance their own ideas. But that is an illegitimate use of public authority.

When DOJ effectively nullified a part of the law Congress (a heavily Democratic Congress at the time) had written -- 18 USC 3501 -- I resigned, precisely because such executive branch nullification is inconsistent with my view of the proper balance of authority between Congress and the executive.

And that should answer your hypothetical. If I thought my efforts as a public employee were inconsistent with the public good, I would find work outside the public sector. Which is exactly what I did.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 27, 2011 3:32:13 PM

Confession, like eyewitness testimony, is so unreliable, as to be worthless, anyway. It requires confirmation by objective evidence 100% of the time. Prof. Berman told his students, of the 20% of death row inmates exonerated, a quarter had voluntarily confessed. The problem is beyond voluntariness. Confirmation by objective evidence should be added to the Rule.

With such skill, experience, Rolodex, the punishment for leaving government would be a salary several multiples of government salary.

Many local prosecutors could be struggling outside of government. So, when the elected official says, move on from drug enforcement in this neighborhood, it is not easy to resign.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 27, 2011 4:11:54 PM

I assist attorneys who represent victims of the viatical and life settlements industry, and I have read tons of legal treatises, pleadings, rulings, so as to better understand how I can help.

Bill Otis' comment is right-on. Prosecutors may get bonuses but if they violate a person's rights and sue under the Hyde Amendment, we taxpayers get the bill. Never a penalty for a corrupt prosecutor. The worst that happens is they relocate to another federal office (e.g., Sean Cronin; Stephen Kunz; Brenda Morris, et al).

I would never want to be on a jury for a criminal trial. Too often the jury does not get all the facts. And even after someone is exonerated by DNA, prosecutors often stick by the original conviction. And that means they do not learn; therefore they are likely to repeat the "mistake." (Which, according to the USA Today series, the OPR interprets as "error of judgment" rather than obstruction of justice and similar crimes.)

Posted by: Gloria Grening Wolk | Feb 27, 2011 7:11:20 PM

Clay S. Conrad --

"The concept of widespread racist nullification...did not stand up to critical investigation: the jurys involved were blamed for racist judges, prosecutors and investigators who insured that few of those juries saw evidence that would justify a conviction."

Where do you think the racist judges, prosecutors and investigators came from? The surrounding population, maybe? And where did the jury members come from?

Hello!!!

But for however that may be, you largely give away the game in your next sentence: "Moreover, the RACIST JURY SELECTION TECHNIQUES allowed back then ensured that jurors did not have to justify their vote to those who might question it." (Emphasis added). Ya think maybe "racist selection techniques" produced racist juries???

I see that you left off your list of racists the defense lawyers who happily provided their services to Klan-type defendants. Think that might be a bit selective?

On the other hand, it could be no coincidence that you omitted criminal defense lawyers from the Bad List, since you are one, and a member of the NACDL at that. And while mentioning the 1997 piece you wrote, you neglected to tell us about the 1995 piece, "Jury Nullification as a Defense Strategy."

Now why would it be a "defense strategy?" Could it be because the client is dead to rights so far as the facts go (in other words, yes, he was selling the meth), so the most promising path to putting him back on the street to do it again is to try to get the jury to be lawless.

Anything like that?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 27, 2011 7:23:11 PM

Bill:

Thanks for clarifying for me the internal workings of the DoJ.

They really are quite a mystery to most Americans.

Posted by: albeed | Feb 27, 2011 9:44:35 PM

Good stuff about the DOJ. I agree.

Problem. 20 million crimes a year. 2 million prosecutions. Only 200,000 sentences are for the original indictment. The rest are for a fictional crime just made up in a plea agreement. There is a 99% chance of prosecutor nullification. Even the tiny fraction of accurate charging is under attack, after making guidelines discretionary, thus adding judge nullification to the enablement and collaboration with the criminal. And why? The criminal generates massive government make work sinecures. Rent seeking is a synonym for armed robbery. An armed man will come and help you, if you refuse to pay your taxes to the criminal cult enterprise that is the lawyer profession. Government is a wholly owned subsidiary of the criminal cult enterprise, with the lawyer having fully infiltrated the government, and making 99% of policy decisions. The victim generates nothing and may rot.

From the public perspective, this case is unbelievable in its hypocrisy, not just its lawlessness. We really need sanctions within the trial. However, the defendant drew a biased vile feminist for a judge, so there will be no justice.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 27, 2011 11:08:00 PM

albeed and SC --

Happy to be of service.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 28, 2011 1:15:14 AM

Bill,

You take umbrage at what you consider to be my "dismissive language." I am not "grading your paper." I'm countering your arguments by pointing out the flaws in your logic and your form of argumentation.

You have not dealt with the substance of this issue. No one on this blog defends a racist jury's decision to acquit a racist murderer -- whether in Mississippi in 1963 or at any other time or place. The question here is whether a man should be prosecuted for informing citizens outside a courthouse that they have the power to acquit a defendant for any reason, including disagreement with the justness of a given law, without intending to affect the deliberations of a jury in any specific case. You dodged Chris' question by saying you didn't know enough facts about this prosecution to judge. So then, please, just answer the basic hypothetical.

I agree that caselaw prevents officers of the court from directly appealing to jury nullification, and that the courts' instructions (under existing caselaw) will not inform them of their power to nullify. You agree that jurors have the power of jury nullification. The question here is: Should a man be prosecuted for telling citizens in front of a U.S. courthouse that they have the power that you agree they have? I'm curious what your answer is. This isn't being dismissive at all. What's your answer?

Mark

P.S. I never said, nor implied, that any judges or prosecutors oppose jury nullification "only" for anything. I virtually never, ever say any group "only" does anything for any reason. (In fact, I can't think of a time that I've ever said such a thing.) And I certainly did not say so here. You used the word "only" in your characterization of my argument purposely -- characterizing my argument, in a way that I never made or implied, in order to attack it. That's the definition of a straw-man argument. You can say I'm acting "superior" or "dismissive," but I'm not. Frankly, you're the one who has made the ad hominem attacks here, not me.

The rhetorical niceties aside, I'd prefer that you just answer the basic hypothetical. You've posited a distinction between a jury's "power" to nullify and a jury's "right" to nullify. I'm curious how you think this difference works out in practice, particularly in light of the First Amendment, when a citizen simply informs other citizens -- without directing the communication at any particular case -- on the courthouse steps of a power that you agree exists under our Constitution. Should the citizen be prosecuted for jury-tampering? It's really not a hard question. If you're uncomfortable answering this basic hypothetical, why? I think there's more agreement here than first appears -- we'll see, I hope. You don't like abuses of jury nullification. I agree with you. You and I agree that juries have the power of nullification. Can't we both agree that citizens shouldn't be prosecuted for telling other citizens about a constitutional power that we both agree exists?

Please know that nothing in this post -- or any of my prior posts -- was or is intended to be dismissive of you. I really want to know how you answer the key question here.

Posted by: Mark Pickrell | Feb 28, 2011 10:25:34 AM

Bill writes to Mark, "...and I'll be happy to match my litigation record against yours."

Couldn't help but howl with laughter when I read that one.

Federal prosecutors lord over a gargantuan system that puts limitless resources and terrifying powers at their disposal...a system rigged to their advantage in the way statutes and rules of evidence are crafted...a system backstopped by appellate judges (mostly former prosecutors themselves) pledged to review outcomes in the light most favorable to prosecutors.

So forgive me if I find it hilarious that a former sharpshooter in our turkey-shoot legal system suggests it would be a fair contest to match litigation records with lawyer who sometimes represents the turkeys.

Good one, Bill.

Posted by: John K | Feb 28, 2011 11:15:22 AM

Fully Informed Jury Association

Can Big Brother come get me for posting the link?

Posted by: George | Feb 28, 2011 12:38:42 PM

Dear S.C., No implication at all. Rather a bald statement. To the topic,i.e., jury nullification, your comment(s) were not even close to "on point". However, this is nothing new. Would enjoy reading your comment(s) on the topic though.
Having read your Blog and been impressed by some of what you said there, I do wish you would try a bit more of your "Blog-tone" here.

Posted by: Tim Rudisill | Feb 28, 2011 3:51:01 PM

As to "lawlessness", in a jury nullification context, I would submit to your consideration the case (admittedly in Great Britain) of one Wm. Penn. The jury chose "lawlessness" and the Crown suffered subsequently. However, Americans profited - with Pennsylvania.
Juries do have this right and this obligation. It is a part of their responsibility as "the community" in the court and as a part of the legal process. For a jury not to be aware of this possibility is comparable to a judge not knowing "directed verdict" possibilities.

Posted by: Tim Rudisill | Feb 28, 2011 4:11:14 PM

John K --

I'll match it against yours, too.

Oh, wait, that WOULD be a turkey shoot, since you don't have one.

I agree, however, that defense counsel often represent turkeys, or the functional equivalent thereof.

P.S. You can cut out the lying, too. You say that appellate judges are "pledged" to review "outcomes" in the light most favorable to the government.

Wrongo. They are REQUIRED to use the "light most favorable to the government standard," see the Supreme Court's decision in Glasser v. US, 315 U.S. 60, 80 (1942) (or plenty of other cases). And, contrary to your sleazy effort to try to portray this standard as applicable to the "outcome" -- which a normal person would take to mean the outcome of the case -- the "light most favorable to the government" standard is used solely to review the losing defendant's claims of INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE. It is not applied to the legal claims on appeal, which vastly outnumber the factual ones.

And it's not just the government either, hotshot. The law requires that factual determinations from the court below be viewed on appeal in the light most favorable TO THE PREVAILING PARTY. In civil cases, which vastly outnumber criminal ones, this exact same standard thus gets applied in favor of the party that won in the trial court -- it has absolutely nothing, as in zippo, to do with favoring the government.

Maybe it's a good thing you don't have a litigation record.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 28, 2011 6:17:48 PM

Scapegoating the Jury, 7 Cornell Jrl. Law & Pub. Pol'y 7 (1997), pdf by Clay S. Conrad.

Posted by: George | Feb 28, 2011 9:49:58 PM

Wow, thanks George. That's a very interesting article.

Posted by: C.E. | Feb 28, 2011 10:56:58 PM

Tim: Nullification is a neutral tool, neither good nor bad. A hammer may be used to build a house or the hit someone in the head. Is a hammer good or bad? Your reference contained instances of good nullification. It did not contain the racist juror of the South allowing lynchings for whistling at white trash women.

My points.

1) I provided the Federal statute. It requires that the communication be about a specific case before it can be called tampering, and unlawful.

2) Nullification can be rare, can be common. In the Bronx, Sotomayor land, the presumption is that the police is lying and the gang banger is a hero. The punishment for wrong headed nullification? Can't walk outside without an armed guard. That is as misguided as the racist nullification of the South. The South stayed a third world backwater until de jure discrimination stopped. That is the utilitarian analysis of nullification, neither automatically good nor bad, but definitely having consequences.

3) Nullification may serve notice on the legislative branch about public sentiment.

4) Here is the big take home message. Argue about jury nullification. It is tiny relative to prosecutor nullification, renamed, discretion. It is tiny relative to judicial nullification, renamed, judicial review. Each of those also provide the legislature with notice about the sentiment prevalent in each of those groups. To be sincere, one must take as strenuous position for or against jury nullification as one does with discretion or judicial review.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 28, 2011 11:51:54 PM

Bill,

Any answer to the basic hypothetical? You've got the time to jaw about your win-loss record, how about just dealing with the basic issue presented by this prosecution?

You seem to want to talk about anything but the main issue here. Chris called you out. I called you out. You want to talk about 1963 Mississippi (but not 1791 or 1807 or 2011 America). You want to talk about your wins in court in unrelated cases. Why can't you just deal with the issue at hand?

Everyone agrees that abuses of jury nullification are bad. However, should a person be prosecuted for jury tampering for telling fellow citizens about their powers under the Constitution, so long as they are not trying to influence any particular case?


Posted by: Mark Pickrell | Mar 1, 2011 12:29:26 PM

It is interesting, C.E., and Mr. Conrad evidently let the paper speak for itself rather than wrestle in the mud with Mr. Bill.

I just wish law review articles used end notes rather than footnotes. It might make them more accessible to the general public.

Posted by: George | Mar 1, 2011 2:36:41 PM

Mark Pickrell --

"Any answer to the basic hypothetical? You've got the time to jaw about your win-loss record, how about just dealing with the basic issue presented by this prosecution?

"You seem to want to talk about anything but the main issue here. Chris called you out. I called you out. You want to talk about 1963 Mississippi (but not 1791 or 1807 or 2011 America)...."

That's where I stopped.

You seem to be under the misapprehension that you are in a position to push me into answering your hypothetical by a combination of badgering, speaking down to me and simple rudeness.

I am by far the most responsive commenter on this blog in terms of replying to my opponents. Do you doubt it? But I respond at my discretion, and at my covenience and will.

I am not about to be hectored into doing what you want; I'm not your servant, if you hadn't noticed.

I will, however, make an agreement with you, under which I will give you a direct and non-evasive response to your hypothetical, provided you do the following two things:

1. Acknowledge that a hypothetical -- being, of course, its author's creation -- can be geared to include "facts," omit "facts," and characterize "facts" to its author's liking, and thus be tilted to produce a pre-determined answer.

2. Acknowledge (a) that your tone with me has been snippy and superior; (b) that such a tone is inconsistent with a businesslike and professional conversation, and (c) and give your word that you will not use such a tone again in responding to what I say.

Since you ALSO get to comment here at your discretion and will, you may agree or not, as you wish.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 3, 2011 1:42:50 AM

I invite all of you to read the constitution it requires there to be a victim for a law to be broken. Nearly all statutory law is illegal on its face and it is being used to fleece the masses.They are swat teaming Amish farmers for selling raw milk here in Wisconsin.How far will you allow this to go? Do you know of any common law court in the country at all? No thay are all statutory tribunals and in Madison Wisconsin Municipal court it says so right on the wall before you enter the metal detector.It say on the wall"tribunal".Do you smell the frogs boiling?

Posted by: joemama | Mar 31, 2011 7:54:09 PM

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