Mark Schmidter Jailed for Handing out Pamphlets
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Adam H. Sudbury, Esquire
(407) 395-4111 (Office), (407) 335-0646 (Mobile/Text) or email@example.com
February 21, 2013; Orlando, FL. Mark E. Schmidter appeared in court today, Thursday, February 21, 2013, before the Honorable Belvin Perry Jr. for resentencing on one count of criminal contempt of court. The resentencing occurs after the Fifth District Court of Appeal in December found that Schmidter’s First Amendment right to free speech was violated by requiring him to stand within “free speech zones” at the Orange County Courthouse. However, the appeals court also found that restricting distribution of literature to jurors summoned for jury duty was legally permissible, and that Schmidter’s conviction for contempt on those grounds should be upheld. Schmidter was re-sentenced today to serve 145 days in the Orange County Jail, and was immediately taken into custody.
“Judge Perry views Mark’s actions as being a form of jury tampering. That just isn’t the case,” said Adam H. Sudbury, Schmidter’s attorney. “Jury tampering requires an intent to interfere with a specific case. Mark is simply trying to inform jurors that they have the right to acquit people charged under unjust or immoral laws.”
The organization with which Schmidter is affiliated, the Fully Informed Jury Association (“FIJA”) has had widespread success in advancing the cause of “jury nullification,” which is the right of a juror to judge both the facts and the law under which a person is charged.
“This case isn’t about jury nullification, or whether you agree or disagree with it. It is about our First Amendment freedom of speech. Mark has every right to tell jurors and non-jurors what he believes their role to be in our constitutional republic,” said Sudbury.
According to Sudbury, the next stage of the proceedings is to file a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in federal court. He expects these papers to be filed at some point early next week. “Our case is currently pending before the Florida Supreme Court, and we also have a federal declaratory judgment action in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. We will try to get Mark released by filing a habeas corpus petition as soon as we are able,” said Sudbury.
Questions about this release should be directed to: SUDBURY LAW, 407-395-4111 or firstname.lastname@example.org .