Update: Friends, family and colleagues of Mark Schmidter will gather to rally in his support Monday evening, Feb. 25, in Orlando. This event which begins at 5 p.m., will take place on the grounds of the Orange County Courthouse. Schmidter attorney Adam Sudbury will be available from 4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. to answer any questions regarding the upcoming legal proceedings.
More about the case
Attorney Adam Sudbury, representing Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) activist Mark Schmidter, is preparing to file an appeal with the Florida Supreme Court seeking to free his client. Schmidter, the First Amendment and jury nullification proponent, was sentenced to 145 days in jail by the Fifth District Court of Appeal in the State of Florida on Thursday, Feb. 21.
Though the judges agreed Orange County Judge Belvin Perry overstepped his authority by creating free speech zones in and around the Orange Courthouse in Orlando, they agreed with Perry’s argument Schmidter engaged in “jury tampering” by handing out the FIJA pamphlets to jurors preparing to deliberate on criminal cases.
Following the verdict, law enforcement officials immediately escorted Schmidter to jail.
Defining ‘Jury Nullification’
"Jury nullification" has been defined as
a sanctioned doctrine of trial proceedings wherein members of the jury either disregard the evidence presented or the instructions of the judge in order to reach a verdict based on their own consciences. It espouses the concept that jurors should be the judges of both law and fact.
Schmidter attorney Adam Sudbury refutes claims of jury tampering
After the case concluded Thursday evening, Schmidter attorney Adam Sudbury refuted claims by the Fifth District Court of Appeals his client's passing out of pamphlets explaining jury nullification resulted in the tampering of jurors.
Sudbury points out Mark Schmidter has handed out the FIJA to all jurors entering the courthouse, and not jurors in only one case. Therefore, Schmidter providing of pamphlets to individuals entering the courthouse is protected by free speech.
Sudbury goes on to say this case has nothing at all to do with whether or not a person embraces the concept of jury nullification. The only crime committed was the violation of Schmidter’s First Amendment rights.
Learn more about Mark Schmidter and FIJA