When Jim Babb left his house this morning, he didn’t expect to come home with jury tampering charges hanging over his head.
The jury rights activist traveled to the Ocean County courthouse in New Jersey early on October 22 to exercise his First Amendment right to distribute pamphlets on public property. Babb harassed no one and interfered with nobody at all.
But employees of the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department stopped Babb. They forced him to relocate, then detained him, took down personally-identifying information and finally banished him from the courthouse environs under threat of jury tampering charges – all of it recorded via livestreamed video (see below).
Peaceful Activism Met with Threats
In this, his second pamphleting outing (here’s uneventful footage of his first) to this particular courthouse, Babb sought only to inform potential jurors of their right to judge the law as well as the facts of any given case, and to vote not guilty if they felt the law was unjust, unjustly applied or just because their conscience dictated it. That’s all.
Babb didn’t speak on a megaphone. He didn’t block any walkways. He wasn’t violent or intimidating. He peacefully exercised his First Amendment rights to distribute jury rights pamphlets to anyone who would voluntarily receive them.
Here’s Babb’s livestreamed video from this morning:
Decades of Work
Babb’s activism this morning is the continuation of decades of work by hundreds of jury rights activists across the country. What do we want? To rein in the explosion of victimless crimes prosecutions. How do we want to do it? By restoring the constitutional right to a fair jury trial by peers who may judge the law as well as the facts. Where do these rights come from? The US constitution, the Magna Carta and 800 years of legal history. It’s that simple.
In a 2012 federal court decision, a jury tampering indictment against fellow activist Julian Heicklen was dismissed precisely because all Heicklen was doing is the same thing Babb and others (including myself) have done.
Jury tampering, on the other hand, is a specific crime that involves the attempt to persuade a seated juror to vote for a specific verdict on a specific trial.
Jury rights pamphleting is not jury tampering. Asking a seated juror to vote not guilty on that case she got seated on against that mob boss? That is jury tampering. Not just handing out pamphlets educating people about their rights.
Want to get involved? Want to interview Jim? Contact him via Facebook private message. Jim needs your support and participation. There aren’t many causes where just one person can have a meaningful impact for another person’s liberty but jury rights is definitely at top of the list.
You can also contact the Ocean County prosecutors at (732) 929-2027 and try to educate them about the difference between protected free speech and jury tampering.
Want more Jim Babb? I interviewed him about how to do jury rights activism without getting arrested in 2013 and how to nullify suspicionless checkpoints in 2012. Subscribe to his YouTube channel for more activism videos.