Man convicted of jury tampering loses appeal

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Keith Wood in court on June 1, 2017.

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan appeals court has affirmed the misdemeanor conviction of a man who was accused of jury tampering by distributing pamphlets outside a western Michigan courthouse.

In a 2-1 decision, the court rejected Keith Wood’s arguments, especially his claim that he was exercising free-speech rights when he told jurors that they could choose their conscience over the law.

Judges Christopher Murray and Thomas Cameron say the state has a “compelling interest in protecting the sanctity of the jury.”

Wood was outside the Mecosta County courthouse, north of Grand Rapids, in 2015. He was accused of trying to influence a case involving a man who had a wetlands dispute with a state agency. Ironically, the case ended with a plea deal and didn’t go to trial.

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