Tobey says he will not comply as long as Bush 'flouts' law
By Clay Lambert
It could not be determined whether Tobey's particular brand of anti-war protest was a first. But jury protests are nothing new.
Legal observers have said "jury nullification," when a juror refuses to convict because he or she does not believe in the law at issue, has been on the rise for years. The Washington Post reported that African-Americans in the District of Columbia have been known to render not-guilty verdicts because they believe drug laws unfairly target people of color. Some say the high-profile trials of O.J. Simpson and Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry were influenced by jurors who sympathetic to defendants because of their race.
But Tobey had no issue with the trial taking place in Bergeron's courtroom. His complaint was with the government itself.
In a letter he delivered to the judge the next day, Tobey wrote: "My refusal was perhaps out of place or even foolish. But to act as if things were normal, to have refrained from speaking out, would have bothered my conscience considerably."
Tobey is a computer programmer who says civil disobedience is not second nature. He referred to some of the tactics of San Francisco protesters as "mayhem" and he has no plans to protest the war by ignoring the April 15 tax deadline.
"I don't think the IRS will be nearly as reasonable as the judge was," Tobey said.