This story was interesting. Julian Heicklen was an activist. He handed out “jury nullification” pamphlets in front of courthouses.
“Jury nullification” means that a jury has the right and obligation to vote “not guilty” if they disapprove of the law, even if they believe the person did it.
Judges don’t like jury nullification. Insiders see it as a threat to their power, if jurors think for themselves and exercise their jury nullification power. Most “statutory crime” or “victimless crime” would not be enforceable, if juries nullified.
In a trial for “possession of a gun without a license” or “possession of marijuana” or “tax evasion”, jury nullification is appropriate. It is wrong to send people to prison for that. They are fake crimes. If juries were aware of their nullification power, they would refuse to convict.
The practice of jury selection or “voir dire” started to prevent jury nullification. By screening jurors based on their beliefs, any jurors who might vote “not guilty” are excluded. “Voir dire” is a French phrase that means “jury tampering”.
Even though the law was never explictly changed, the Supreme Court and appeals courts have ruled that defense lawyers are barred from mentioning jury nullification. Even as a pro se defendant, you can be found in “contempt” for mentioning jury nullification.
Julian Heicklen was facing multiple criminal prosecutions, for handing out “jury nullification” pamphlets. If you take a literal interpretation of the 1st Amendment, handing out pamphlets in front of a courthouse should be obviously legal.
Instead of fighting in court, he decided to flee to Israel.
I’m disappointed. If appeals courts and the Supreme Court weren’t corrupt, Julian Heicklen should have won. However, they are corrupt. He didn’t like his odds and he didn’t want to spend a lot of time in jail.
More and more people are saying “It’s time to leave the USA!” Where is better? For personal reasons, I can’t move right now. It’s something to seriously consider.
I’m disappointed that Julian Heicklen didn’t try to fight and establish a favorable precedent. On the other hand, I understand that the US government is nearly completely hopeless, and fleeing may be the best option.