NY judge tosses out jury nullification charges

Associated Press + More

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York federal judge has thrown out charges against a man who urges jurors to sometimes disregard the law and vote their conscience.

Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan tossed the case against Julian Heicklen (HEHK-lihn) on Thursday. She said the First Amendment protects speech concerning judicial proceedings as long as it doesn't prevent fair and impartial justice. She said the essence of the First Amendment is that falsehoods are better exposed through discussion than through suppression.

Wood heard arguments last month. Heicklen was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for repeatedly handing out pamphlets to people outside a lower Manhattan courthouse near the World Trade Center site between October 2009 and May 2010.

Prosecutors declined to comment. A defense lawyer said her client and his lawyers are delighted.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.