Man arrested for passing out pamphlets about juries

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A man in western Michigan said he was arrested and locked up for 12 hours for telling people outside a courthouse to follow their conscience if selected for a jury.

Keith Wood told The Grand Rapids Press that he's been charged with jury tampering and obstruction of justice in Mecosta County. He said he was arrested on Nov. 24 under orders from District Court Judge Peter Jaklevic.

Wood said he was distributing a pamphlet to anyone who would take one. He said jurors can refuse to convict someone if they disagree with a law.

"I'm a disciple of Jesus Christ," said Wood, who explained his decision to hand out the pamphlet. "Jesus said 'the truth will set you free' and I want people to know the truth. If you don't use your rights, you lose them."

Jaklevic declined to comment. Wood returns to court on Dec. 8.

The flier is titled "What rights do you have as a juror that the judge won't tell you about?"

Wood said that other than a drunken driving charge as a teen, he has never had any run-ins with the law. He served for five years as a pastor in Colorado, leased cars for a few years and for the last five years has been a self-employed insurance broker.

Wood's attorney, David Kallman, said the incident is "outrageous." Kallman said his client had no case at the court, knew of no cases and no jury had been seated at the time he was handing out the fliers.

"The government can't just come in and step on people's First Amendment rights," Kallman said.

Published: Fri, Dec 04, 2015