Judge Bans Handing (Factual) Pamphlets To Jurors; Raising First Amendment Issues
from the apparently-we-don't-want-fully-informed-juries dept
However, it looks like Chief Judge Belvin Perry doesn't like fully informed juries. He signed an order barring the group from handing out their pamphlets... raising all sorts of free speech and prior restraint questions. In order to try to get around the prior restraint question, Judge Perry stated that this "restriction upon expressive conduct" was "necessary to serve the state's compelling interest in protecting the integrity of the jury system." The judge clearly knows he's treading in free speech/prior restraint waters in specifically noting that it's a restriction of expression and calling out the "compelling interest" line. Of course, you can't just say there's a compelling interest. There actually has to be one, and I'm struggling to see how better informing a juror of their rights as a juror could possibly be about manipulating a jury or would harm the integrity of the jury system. Wouldn't you think a juror who better understand what being a juror means increases the integrity of the system?
It's almost as if the judge is admitting that they want uninformed jurors who don't know their own rights.
It sounds like the group is fighting back, so hopefully the ban will soon be reversed and the judge will be given a refresher course in the First Amendment and free speech.