OK, Obama's really gone worse than Bush on the War on Drugs. Federal prosecutors threatening with crimes a person who recommends jury nullification outside a trial court?
Earlier this year, prosecutors charged Julian P. Heicklen, a retired chemistry professor, with jury tampering because he stood outside the federal courthouse in Manhattan providing information about jury nullification to passers-by. Given that I have been recommending nullification for nonviolent drug cases since 1995 — in such forums as The Yale Law Journal, “60 Minutes” and YouTube — I guess I, too, have committed a crime.And, don't tell me the Manhattan federal DA is doing that all on his own. Here's the reality, which is itself "interesting":
In 1895, the Supreme Court ruled that jurors had no right, during trials, to be told about nullification. The court did not say that jurors didn’t have the power, or that they couldn’t be told about it, but only that judges were not required to instruct them on it during a trial. Since then, it’s been up to scholars like me, and activists like Mr. Heicklen, to get the word out.Anyway, the column's author may not be alone:
In October, the Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, asked at a Senate hearing about the role of juries in checking governmental power, seemed open to the notion that jurors “can ignore the law” if the law “is producing a terrible result.” He added: “I’m a big fan of the jury.”Let's see Mr. Heicklen get backing from ACLU and/or the Center for Constitutional Rights and start suing federal prosecutors for false imprisonment.
Anyway, the bottom line is that the Manhattan DA's actions didn't come out of nowhere. One of Obama's biggest campaign claim vs. administration reality lies was about the War on Drugs. Once again, our constitutional law hypocrite lives down to reputation.