JASON PROEFROCK: Shocked and concerned

To whoever cares to read:

Just before Thanksgiving in Mecosta County, a man was arrested on a public sidewalk for simply passing out flyers pertaining to juror rights. This man was charged with misdemeanor jury tampering and felony obstruction of justice. He was held on a $150,000 bail and had to pay $15,000 on the spot in order to spend Thanksgiving with his family and not in a jail cell.

I know that most readers of this paper do not reside in Mecosta County, but Mecosta and Osceola share District and Circuit Court officials.

I’m no attorney, but I have concerns about why the officials involved chose to act the way they did. Why is it that a layman who takes it upon himself to educate the public about their rights if they are chosen to be on a jury gets charged with a felony when many judges across the country tell their jurors the same information?

This guy could have been any of us. I (thought) I learned in my senior year government class at Reed City High School that we as Americans have the right to free speech and the right to share information. From what I understand the courts have even said that sharing information advocating some illegal activity is still protected because it is only sharing info, not the illegal act itself. Again, I’m no attorney, so I may have that wrong.

I was surprised to find out how few people were aware of this case. I am not writing this calling for action, but rather for education. So, tonight, type “Mecosta jury tampering obstruction” into your favorite internet search engine and learn about this case and form your own opinion. Then, discuss it with five other people and see what they think.

Jason Proefrock