Tag Archives: Jury Nullification

Judge Dismisses Felony Charge Against Jury Nullification Activist

Mecosta Circuit Judge Kimberly Booher dismissed a felony obstruction of justice charge on Wednesday against jury nullification activist and former pastor Keith Wood.

According to MLive, Judge Booher however is allowing a misdemeanor jury tampering charge to move forward. 39-year-old Wood had been arrested on both charges in November of 2015 while handing out flyers promoting the concept of jury nullification outside of a Michigan courthouse.

Jury nullification is a term that describes scenarios in which a jury refuses to convict a guilty defendant under the rationale that the law itself is unjust or inappropriately applied. Wood is facing charges for handing out flyers produced by the Fully Informed Jury Association which argue that jury nullification is a right belonging to jurors.

[RELATED: Judge Jails Former Pastor For Jury Nullification Education]

Prosecutor Brian Thiede alleges that Wood chose to hand out flyers that day to target potential jurors in a land-use case against an Amish man. WOOD-TV is reporting that Wood admits to knowing the man, who later pleaded guilty to charges, but denies that he was trying to reach jurors in that case.

I’m convinced the rest of the case will be dismissed based on First Amendment rights,” said Wood’s Attorney David Kallman.

Thiede claims that Wood’s behavior erodes the rule of law and could lead to a future in which juries set violent criminals free if they believe in the motives behind their attacks.

[RELATED: Judge Drops Jury Tampering Charges Against Denver Jury Nullification Activists]

And certainly, if we were to allow Mr. Wood’s conduct here, we could have every trial stopped,” Thiede said in court according to FOX 17 West Michigan.

Judge Booher ordered the court to return a $15,000 bond deposit that Wood had paid pursuant to the felony obstruction of justice charge.

The felony obstruction of justice charge would have involved a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and the misdemeanor jury tampering charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail.

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Judge Drops Jury Tampering Charges Against Denver Jury Nullification Activists

District Court Judge Kenneth Plotz dismissed all charges on Wednesday against jury nullification activists Eric Brandt and Mark Iannicelli, who had been charged in July with seven felony counts of jury tampering while handing out Fully Informed Jury Association flyers with general information about jury nullification outside of the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver.

Jury nullification is a term that describes scenarios in which a jury refuses to convict a guilty defendant under the rationale that the law itself is unjust or inappropriately applied. While jurors do have the power to nullify convictions, defense attorneys in most U.S. states are not allowed to explain that fact.

[RELATED: Activist Charged with Jury Tampering for Promoting Jury Nullification Outside Courthouse]

When Brandt and Iannicelli distributed their flyers from a booth outside of the courthouse, officials accused them of handing the flyers out to “actual and potential jury pool members” and noted that a death penalty case was underway.

Lynn Kimbrough, a spokesperson for District Attorney Mitch Morrissey’s office, told The Denver Post, “The District Attorney strongly supports the First Amendment and the right to free speech. He is also obligated to uphold the laws of Colorado, which prohibit a person from communicating with a juror with the intent to influence a juror’s vote. The charges that he filed in these two cases alleged that specific conduct.

However, the two activists were handing the flyers out indiscriminately to everyone in an effort to raise general awareness of the concept of jury nullification, not to specific known jurors of a particular case in an attempt to sway them against a conviction.

In dismissing the charges, [Judge Plotz] noted that such charges for handing out FIJA brochures amounted to an unconstitutional application of the jury tampering law and swept in speech that is protected under the First Amendment,” wrote Fully Informed Jury Association executive director Kirsten Tynan. FIJA is an activist group that educates the public about jury nullification.

She added, “Earlier this year, a federal court judge granted an injunction sought by attorney David Lane on behalf of the Fully Informed Jury Association and co-plaintiffs Eric Verlo and Janet Matzen to prevent any further such unconstitutional arrests. The court made clear at that time that such activity is protected under the First Amendment. Nonetheless, Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey chose to continue his vendetta, wasting even more taxpayer dollars and harassing harmless Colorado residents, as he refused to drop the charges against Iannicelli and Brandt.

[RELATED: Judge Jails Former Pastor For Jury Nullification Education]

Attorney David Lane, who represented Iannicelli and Brandt, said that District Attorney Morrissey abused his power in bringing the charges against his clients. “[Morrissey’s charges] would be perceived as a losing battle for a first-year law student,” he added. Lane is weighing a federal lawsuit against Morrissey for charging his clients with felonies for exercising their First Amendment rights.

We look forward to adding yet another such victory in the case of Keith Wood, a juror rights educator also abusively mischarged in recent weeks by disgruntled courthouse officials in Mecosta County, Michigan,” said FIJA executive director Tynan, who also claimed that the media coverage surrounding Brandt and Iannicelli’s arrests brought an unexpected and unprecedented level of attention to the concept of jury nullification.

After the charges were dropped, Eric Brandt reportedly paraphrased the Edmund Burke attributed quotation, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,” and added triumphantly, “I chose not to stand by [and do nothing]. The world is run by those who show up. I elected to show up.

Judge Jails Former Pastor For Jury Nullification Education

BIG RAPIDS, Mich., December 2, 2015– Former pastor Keith Wood, 39, was arrested last week for handing out fliers that informed passerby about the practice of jury nullification on the sidewalk in front of the Mecosta County courthouse.

Wood was distributing fliers from the Fully Informed Jury Association.

“I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ. Jesus said ‘the truth will set you free’ and I want people to know the truth,” said Wood regarding why he decided to hand out the fliers entitled What Rights Do You Have as a Juror That the Judge Won’t Tell You About?

“If you don’t use your rights, you lose them,” Wood said.

While Wood was handing out the fliers, a courthouse employee approached him and told him that the judge wanted to speak with him. Wood asked the employee if he was being detained and before telling the employee that he would rather stay put.

Shortly after the first encounter, a court deputy approached Wood and also told him that the judge wanted to speak with him. The deputy reportedly informed Wood that if he refused to speak with the judge, the Big Rapids police arrive to arrest him.

Wood said that after being threatened with arrest, he went inside where Mecosta County District Court Judge Peter Jaklevic ordered a deputy to “place him in custody for jury tampering.”

Wood was immediately jailed and a $150,000 bond was ordered. After sitting in jail for approximately 12 hours, Wood made bond and was charged with jury tampering, which is a one-year misdemeanor. He was also charged with obstruction of justice, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

“It’s just outrageous,” said Wood’s attorney David Kallman. “The
government can’t just come in and step on people’s First Amendment rights.”

According to Kallman, Wood had no case at the court, knew of no cases and no jury had even been seated at the time he was handing out the educational material.

“There was no jury to tamper with,” Kallman pointed out.

Last August, Occupy Denver affiliated jury rights activist Mark Iannicelli was arrested on seven felony counts of jury tampering after he allegedly distributed educational flyers promoting the concept of jury nullification outside of the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver, Colorado. Iannicelli reportedly issued the flyers from a booth with a sign reading “Juror Info.

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Activist Charged with Jury Tampering for Promoting Jury Nullification Outside Courthouse

Occupy Denver affiliated jury rights activist Mark Iannicelli was arrested last Monday on seven felony counts of jury tampering after he allegedly distributed educational flyers promoting the concept of jury nullification outside of the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver, Colorado. Iannicelli reportedly issued the flyers from a booth with a sign reading “Juror Info.

An arrest affidavit cited by FOX 31 Denver alleged that Iannicelli issued the flyers to “actual and potential jury pool members” and that a death penalty case was underway in the adjacent building.

Authorities released Iannicelli on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. His next court appearance is set to take place on August 11 at 1:30 p.m.

Jury nullification refers to a discretionary act by a jury in which jurors refuse to hand down a conviction against a guilty defendant under the belief that the conviction or the law itself is fundamentally unjust. However, in most jurisdictions, defense attorneys are prohibited from informing jurors about jury nullification.

[RELATED: Ron Paul Calls for Jury to Nullify Cannabis Oil Mom Shona Banda’s Criminal Charges]

In light of this, jury rights advocacy groups like the Fully Informed Jury Association have been working to promote jury nullification to a nationwide audience. Doing so near courthouses can be legally risky, though. In 2010, jury rights activist Julian P. Heicklen was charged with jury tampering for distributing jury nullification flyers from a booth that he had installed outside of a New York City federal court. However, according to The New York Times, Federal District Court Judge Kimba M. Wood threw out the charges against Heicklen, citing the fact that Heicklen’s flyers did not contain any particular information “in relation to a specific case pending before” the juror that read it.

In response to Iannicelli’s arrest, Fully Informed Jury Association’s Kirsten Tynan wrote, “It does not sound likely that the accused’s activity even met the definition of jury tampering. FIJA encourages everyone who is doing general educational outreach at courthouses to be clear that they are not advocating for or against any case in progress, but rather are sharing this information for educational purposes only. What jurors choose to do with that information is up to them. My impression from what I have heard and read so far is that those at this courthouse were aware of this distinction.

Tynan added, “Nonetheless, it sometimes happens that courthouse officials or law enforcement either are ignorant of the difference between general educational outreach and jury tampering or that they choose to ignore it for the sake of making a nuisance arrest that will interfere with free speech activity they find inconvenient or disagree with. It’s possible that one or the other of these is the case in Denver this week.

Iannicelli’s arrest reportedly took place on day two of a three-day drive to educate the public about jury nullification, with a previous outreach effort at another Colorado court having occurred without incident.

Ron Paul Calls for Jury to Nullify Cannabis Oil Mom Shona Banda’s Criminal Charges

Since March of last year, Truth in Media has covered the work of cannabis oil activist Shona Banda, a mother and Crohn’s disease patient who successfully used cannabis oil to treat her illness and developed her own inexpensive method for extracting it. However, Banda’s ordeal took a serious turn in April of this year when her son was seized by the Kansas Department for Children and Families and her home raided by police after her 11-year-old son spoke out about Banda’s successful cannabis oil treatment during an anti-drug presentation at his Garden City, KS public school.

Truth in Media’s exclusive interviews with Banda about her fight to regain custody of her son and the five criminal charges, three of them felonies, that she faces pursuant to the April raid on her home garnered nationwide attention, with outlets like The Washington Post and ABC’s The View picking up the story.

Now, Shona Banda’s case has caught the attention of libertarian icon and former Republican US Congressman Ron Paul, who weighed in on her case during Tuesday’s episode of the Ron Paul Liberty Report.

In the episode, seen in the above-embedded video player, Ron Paul spoke optimistically of the fact that laws prohibiting treatment with cannabis oil have been overturned in many states, but noted that these changes are happening too slowly to help in Shona Banda’s case. As an alternative, he pointed to jury nullification, a legal tool that jurors can use to defend fellow citizens from unjust laws.

[Shona Banda] could end up in prison for 34 years,” said Paul, who called the charges against her “so egregious.

Jury nullification describes a discretionary act in which a juror uses his or her right to acquit a defendant, but does so, not on the basis that the accused is innocent of the charges, but instead based on the belief that the law itself is unjust. Former Congressman Paul cautioned that efforts to stand outside a specific courthouse and educate jurors on the principle of jury nullification could result in activists being charged with jury tampering.

Paul also pointed out the fact that parents who home-school their kids do not face a risk that public school employees will interrogate their children in an effort to spy on parents’ behavior. He concluded by articulating his broader view that the War on Drugs exceeds the federal government’s constitutional limits. “[The federal government] shouldn’t even be involved. Where is it in the Constitution that they’re going to tell us about what our kids can do or what a person can do for their own body, taking something that grows naturally and finds out that its the best medication they could take? I mean that is not a federal function.

Shona Banda’s supporters have already raised nearly $50,000 to support her legal defense via a GoFundMe page. Banda has predicted that her legal fees may exceed $150,000.

In September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode confronting the federal government’s mixed messages about the efficacy of medical marijuana. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


Oregon Farmers May Go to Prison for Raw Milk Ads

There is no free speech when it comes to advertising raw milk products in Oregon. In fact, those who violate this law may face possible jail time.

Most states in the country have significant restrictions on the sale of raw milk, and at first glance, Oregon’s seem like some of the less extreme ones.  Sales are outright illegal in 20 states, and though Oregon does not allow the retail sale of raw milk, it does allow small organic dairies – with three cows or fewer, only two of which can be lactating at any given time – to sell their product directly to consumers.  The catch, however, is that these dairies are prohibited from advertising their product.

AndersonCow-250x300Christine Anderson filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in the hopes of changing that.  She owns and runs Cast Iron Farm, a two cow dairy and has taken great pains to ensure the process creates the highest quality, safest milk possible, combining modern and traditional methods.  The government’s concern is that raw milk may carry harmful bacteria like salmonella and E. coli, but such hazards are usually a product of human milk processing, not the cow, itself. Anderson’s process minimizes these risks.

Last year, the Oregon Department of Agriculture told Anderson she must remove the milk prices from her website, and as part of this, she has been unable to advertise sales when she has a surplus of milk and is forced to waste much of it, feeding it to her pigs.  She also felt compelled to remove information about her milking, bottling and testing methods from her website, because they could also be construed as advertising.  The irony of this, as her attorney has noted, is that this actually keeps consumers from accessing information which could help them make safer raw milk choices.

There are a growing number of Americans who consider raw milk to be much healthier than that which is pasteurized.

The pasteurization process destroys proteins, enzymes and probiotics which many consider integral to digestive health.  Digestive health has been increasingly linked to overall health, with allergies, infections and even autoimmune disease being connected to digestive issues.

Another issue facing smaller farms is that big corporations like Monsanto and the milk lobby have millions of dollars to advertise their products. They control the public narrative and have the power of the mass media to essentially eliminate smaller competitors.

However, the public is waking up and are concerned about pasteurized milk products that may contain growth hormones. Many countries have already outlawed the artificial hormone rBGH used to inject milk cows in order to maximize production. Starbucks, Chipotle, and Ben and Jerry’s state that their dairy products are rBGH-free. Concerns over chemicals, hormones, and drugs in pasteurized milk has helped raw milk sales. The trend to buy local and natural foods continues to be a popular trend in the U.S.

Those in rural communities are fighting draconian laws and regulations imposed by politicians who are influenced by special interests and lobbyists. Farmers like Anderson are filing lawsuits while others are using jury nullification to stand up for their Constitutional rights.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “a Hennepin County jury found Alvin Schlangen not guilty of three misdemeanor counts of selling unpasteurized milk, operating without a food license and handling adulterated or misbranded food.” Each count carried a maximum sentence of three months’ imprisonment.


More on Jury Nullification


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“Juries have the power to judge the facts of the case as well as the law itself.”


“Just Us” is a coalition of media and activists working together to encourage the American public to take up its civil responsibility to serve as jurors. We recognize that too many Americans run from their responsibility to serve as jurors. Our goal is to remind the public of its responsibility to sign up for jury duty. Once you are on a jury, remember that you have the responsibility to not only judge the facts of the case but to also judge the law itself. This process is known as jury nullification.


You get to vote when you serve on a Grand Jury and you get to vote when you serve on a regular Trial Jury. Big deal? These two votes are much more important than most citizens realize because they permit a juror to nullify bad law, referred to as ‘Jury lawlessness.’ In US vs Dougherty, 473 F 2nd 1130 we read, “Jury lawlessness is the greatest corrective of law in its actual administration. The will of the state at large imposed on a reluctant community, the will of a majority imposed on a vigorous and determined minority, find the same obstacle in the local jury that formerly confronted kings and ministers.” Jefferson said, “I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its Constitution.”

The honorable Theo. Parsons at the MA convention of 1788 answering concerns that the proposed US Constitution had as yet no Bill of Rights replied: “The people themselves have it in their power effectually to resist usurpation, without being driven to an appeal to arms…Let him be considered as a criminal by the general government, yet only his fellow citizens can convict him; they are his jury, and if they pronounce him innocent, not all the powers of Congress can hurt him; and innocent they certainly will pronounce him if the supposed law he resisted was an act of usurpation.” (2 Elliot’s Debates, 94; Bancroft, History of the Constitution, 267).

This principle was put into action before the Civil War when some who helped slaves escape to freedom were brought to trial having violated the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. The juries back then knew that the Constitution gave them the right to judge the law as well as the accused person. When jury after jury responded “NOT GUILTY” in spite of the evidence, the judge’s hands were tied; they were thus prevented from assessing penalties! Even the US Supreme Court can not override the ruling of a jury. Congress got the message and the laws were changed.

In the first jury trial before the Supreme Court (Feb of 1794), the Supreme Court judges told the jury, “…it is presumed, that the juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that the courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision… You have a right to take upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy.” (State of Georgia vs. Brailsford, et al, 3 Dall.I).

John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court (1789) summarized it thus, “The jury has a right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.” This was echoed by Oliver Wendell Holmes, US Supreme Court Justice (1902), “The jury has the power to bring a verdict in the teeth of both law and fact” as well as by Harlan F. Stone, 12th Chief Justice, US Supreme Ct. (1941), “The law itself is on trial quite as much as the cause which is to be decided.” US vs Moylan, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, 1969 instructs, “If the jury feels the law is unjust, we recognize the undisputed power of the jury to acquit, even if its verdict is contrary to the evidence.”

This is a fortunate thing arising from our Founding Fathers’ distrust of any type of government or any of its branches with or without checks and balances. Therefore they made sure that guilt would be decided only by fellow citizens, not by judges, and not by politicians! If the people are the creators of the Constitution, they must also be the enforcers of the law they created. Fortunately, nothing has changed since then, except that most jurors today let themselves be dictated to by the judge or by the attorneys during a trial. Our ignorance here makes it easy to scam us, to get away with lying to us. You see, we have not only the right to judge the accused individual, we have the right to judge the law the individual is accused of breaking! However, “If a juror accepts as the law that which the judge states then that juror has accepted the exercise of absolute authority of a government employee and has surrendered a power and right that once was the citizen’s safeguard of liberty.” (Elliot’s Debates, Bancroft, History of the Constitution, 1788)

Those being the facts of the matter, if jurors are ignorant of their supreme power would a US Attorney remind a Grand Jury about their lawful authority over any US Attorney? No, because a US Attorney cannot prosecute an individual without a Grand Jury indictment. And would a judge admit that jurors can disregard his clear and limiting instructions? Of course not. Instead, the judge will likely accept a motion ‘In Limine’ from the prosecution which denies the accused the right to use the US Constitution in his defense.

Nothing will be said to jurors as to their responsibility to judge the quality of the law. It all becomes a show trial if officials can count on jurors acting like sheeple, like a rubber stamp. Part of the problem is that we are more poorly educated than previous generations in terms of civics, economics, and the philosophies of government – 85% of us believe our rights come from the government!

Samuel Chase signed the Declaration of Independence and served our country well, but he made one mistake which got him impeached. As a US Supreme Court Justice (1796), he told a jury that he would decide the law and the jury would decide the facts. During his impeachment trial, Chase apologized and assured the Senate that he knew that juries also had the right to judge the law as well as the facts of a case. Those statesmen in Congress back then knew that if jurors follow erroneous instructions of a judge, our lawful form of government would be subverted and changed. Then politicians could take over. In 1800, if politicians had written the IRS code to put citizens in bondage, jurors across the land would have trashed that bad law with their votes as unconstitutional (Art.1, Sec.9, Clause 4).

Surprisingly, jurors are beginning to trash bad laws again. Jurors are successfully fighting back and not even the IRS can appeal a ‘not guilty’ jury verdict. The IRS does have the option of intimidating the media in order to keep its defeat out of the news. It could harass, audit and attempt to destroy any reporter who might publish a victory for US taxpayers. So today the public has no idea of the great number of cases which the IRS and other agencies have recently lost. The number grows as citizens get sick and tired of repressive measures moving us toward a one-world government.

It may be hard to believe that the 16th Amendment wasn’t ratified, but 16,000 certified documents collected from all 48 states by 1984 finally proved that to be the case (Google search The Law That Never Was). It may be hard to believe that filing a form 1040 is voluntary for an individual (unless he is a non-resident alien), and that there is no law requiring US citizens to do so, but investigation will prove that true (check: LiveFreeNow.com).

Why are such things so hard to believe? Because for years we’ve been misled by politicians and our (tax supported) public schools. Remember back to when you got your first paycheck years ago. Did you even ask someone whether or not you had to file income taxes? Or was this belief based on assumptions? Oh, we do get in trouble confusing belief with knowledge, no matter how sincere.

One knowledgeable patriot on a jury can educate the others and if need be cast the lone ‘NO’ vote. It is the voters on a jury who must decide if the law is bad or is the defendant bad. If the law is unjust, the jury has the right and duty to protect their fellow American from that bad law – to enforce the Constitution and secure our inalienable rights. In this fashion, a government is controlled by the citizens rather than vice-versa. One voter, on a jury, can hang a jury with a ‘not guilty’ vote. It could be eleven to one for conviction but that one ‘not guilty’ will stop the IRS or any other agency in its tracks. Because of this, America became the first choice of immigrants, the greatest nation on earth in less than two hundred years. Our government remained servant to the people.

The Constitution supersedes all other law and because it is based on Scriptural principles, it is the supreme law of the land. That’s what makes our nation a Republic rather than a Democracy. Thomas Paine said, “A democracy is the vilest form of government there is!” James Madison, Father of the Constitution, said that a democracy would lead to “loss of property rights, contention and chaos.” Our Founding Fathers believed that all democracies rot into ‘mobocracies’ where the majority can cram their will down the throats of minorities. They made sure that the Constitution guaranteed every state a republican form of government (Art.4, Sec.4).

We are not interested in trying to damage or create chaos in the justice system. In no way do we endorse any juror lying to an officer of the court, colluding with others to sabotage a case, paying jurors to find defendants “not guilty” or failing to accurately judge the facts of a case. The “Just Us” movement rejects any unlawful action by any person or persons involved in any criminal or civil court case. This movement is not an act of civil disobedience, rather it is an act of civil obedience.

DC Billboards Spread The Word About Jury Nullification

Jury nullification advocates have launched a new billboard campaign on the Washington DC metro.  After raising $3,000 in a little over a week, James Babb put up his first billboard in the Judiciary Square Metro Station near the F Street entrance.  That placed it perfectly for prospective jurors en route to the DC Superior Court.

ScoffLawsThe signs read “Good jurors nullify bad laws,” and “You have the right to ‘hang’ the vote if you do not agree with the other jurors.”  They’ve drawn both positive attention and the ire of prosecutors who fear the message could influence their cases.  It only takes one juror to hang a jury, so if only one person out of a jury of twelve takes the message to heart, many guilty defendants could be acquitted.

A similar campaign is spreading nationwide as people see increasing numbers of laws – such as drug, gun and food regulations – as being useless or even unjust.  Babb, himself, has plans to put up posters in Los Angeles and Chicago.  In Oregon and Louisiana, ten of twelve jurors can choose to convict or acquit, but everywhere else follows the same laws as DC.  Prosecutors understand the implications of such laws, which is why some have been rejecting potential jurors who have seen the ads.

In a world in which penalties are being imposed for more minor and more political actions, jury nullification may prove a useful tool in the fight against tyranny.  It would only work in criminal cases, not regulations like the employer mandate in Obamacare which would merely impose fines that push companies out of business.  Many illegal and immoral laws, though, do come with criminal penalties.

One example, of course, is drug legislation, and another is controversial food laws.  Perhaps the most talked about topic, though, is self defense and gun rights.  People can be charged criminally for having the wrong guns, ammunition or magazines for their area.  In a recent case a Connecticut man who had committed no crimes was arrested for having too many guns, and in another a New York man was arrested for having too many bullets in a legal gun.  In such cases, jury nullification could be not only helpful, it could allow entire areas of the country to remain relatively safely armed, knowing that a jury would nullify any conviction.

Jury nullification is not a well known concept fr most Americans, but the idea is allowed in American law.  As more and more unjust laws are passed, jury nullification could prove a useful tool in the fight against tyranny.  Campaigns nationwide, like James Babb’s billboards, are drawing attention to this check on government power in an attempt to return power to the people.