Bronx, NY — Earlier this month, government accountability activist Michael Picard was practicing his right to free speech in front of the Bronx Hall of Justice in New York when he was unlawfully arrested and thrown in jail. He had committed no crime and was merely attempting to hand out information on the rights of jurors.
Picard is innocent. He was only attempting to educate his neighbors about their rights on a jury, which is protected free speech. However, courts are intent on using their power to hide the full scope of the jurors’ responsibility and they will apparently go to great lengths to do so — including throwing an entirely innocent man in a cage.
For those who don’t know, jury nullification is the right for any juror to not only judge the facts of the case but also to judge the validity of the law itself. If a jury feels that a defendant is facing an unjust charge, they have the right to rule in the defendant’s favor, even if they are technically guilty under the court’s standards.
Federal and individual state governments are terrified about this concept becoming mainstream as it could lead to radical change in regards to victimless ‘crimes.’
Picard wanted people to know about their rights while serving on a jury so he printed out flyers and was handing them out. For helping to educate his fellow citizens on the law, Picard was kidnapped and thrown in a cage.
Picard said, “On Monday, December 4th, I was on the public sidewalk in front of the Bronx Hall of Justice handing out flyers on jury nullification, which is a right that the jury has to acquit a defendant if they believe the law to be unjust. At 8am, about five minutes in, I was confronted by court officers, who told me to leave or else they would arrest me. I refused to leave the public sidewalk, as I was engaged in First Amendment protected speech and I was doing nothing wrong, so they arrested me.”
Picard was then handcuffed and booked as his GoPro camera continued to record. As Picard is booked into the jail, the police can be heard contemplating the charges they were going to pin on him.
“I wanna charge him with jury intimidation,” the officer can be heard saying.
Once they discovered the camera was still rolling, the cops then had another charge, “wiretapping.” However, Picard had no way of disabling the camera as his he was in handcuffs.
Police ultimately pinned three erroneous charges on Picard—with absolutely no proof of a crime being committed.
Luckily, a judge noted the utter lack of evidence against him and dismissed all the charges. However, police failed to tell Picard that the charges were thrown out and they held the innocent man in jail for an additional 5 hours—just because.
As Picard explains, “They charged me with criminal contempt, jury tampering, and wiretapping (for recording them). At around noon, the District Attorney’s Office dismissed all charges against me. Even after my charges were dismissed, court officers then took me to central booking, where NYPD argued over who would get the arrest, as if they have a quota to meet. They finally released me, and said I was free to go, at 6pm, after spending 10 hours in jail, but they said that I would have to come back another day to pick up my property.”
Picard went back the next day thinking police may have deleted the footage of themselves, however, it remained intact. Below is an example of what practicing your free speech and informing people of their rights looks like in the land of the free.