Jury nullification activist, Mark E. Schmidter, faces nearly a year in jail after being found guilty of two felonies: External Criminal Contempt of Court, and jury tampering, for handing out information outside the Orange County Courthouse in Florida. What's interesting is that Schmidter is not guilty of any actual law, but rather rules written by the acting Judge. These rules that Schmidter is in violation of are for demonstrating outside of "free speech zones" determined by Judge Perry.
Schmidter, who was first arrested in June 2011, maintains his innocence and that the judge's orders he violated were a direct violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution in the first place.
Perry issued\Administrative Order # 2011 03 which states that if anyone hands out information, talks or hold a sign outside the courthouse, they would be held in contempt of court and jury tampering.
Administrative Order #2011 07 states that anything that has to do with “Free Speech” may only be done in the free speech zones which are two 10’x30’ remote areas nearly a football field away from the courthouse doors.
Here is Schmidter being interviewed before his court appearance in June:
Although violating these orders is a misdemeanor offense, Schmidter was charged and convicted of two felony counts. Because of the felony charges, and suspecting that he couldn't get fair treatment from the judge who wrote the Administrative Orders, Schmidter requested a trial by peers and for Judge Perry to recuse himself from the case. He was denied on both requests and referred to Judge Perry as the "lawmaker, prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner."
After serving four days in jail, Schmidter is out on bail and appealing his case. He's making a plea for help from free speech activists: "My conviction is a direct assault on the 1st Amendment of our Constitution. This is the only courthouse in our country that now has a permanent free speech zone. I am setting up my legal defense fund. I (we) need money to appeal for Freedom!"
Schmidter is seeking to raise $10,000 for the appeal process to overturn these unconstitutional charges and restore free speech rights outside the Orange County Courthouse. A failure to overturn this precedent will threaten free speech around the country.
If you would like to contribute to Mark E. Schmidter's legal defense fund, please contact us through activistpost (at) gmail.com and we will forward you to Mr. Schmidter directly.
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