Sunday, August 09, 2015

No free speech about jury rights

"If you are a member of a jury in a criminal case, even if you think the defendant is guilty of the crimes charged, you are entirely free to vote for acquittal if you think that the prosecution is malicious or unfair, or that a conviction in that case would be unjust, or that the law itself is unconstitutional or simply wrong. And if you do so, there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

Judges and prosecutors know this. But they don’t want jurors to know it, which is why we occasionally see cases like this one, in which jury-information activist Mark Iannicelli was arrested and charged with 'jury tampering' for setting up a small booth in front of a Denver courthouse labeled 'Juror Info' and passing out leaflets.

Putting up a sign and passing out leaflets sounds like free speech to me, but apparently Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey feels differently."



Anonymous said...

Some "people" in "law enforcement" are completely out of control and are harassing innocent people to further their own agenda.

C. S. P. Schofield said...

People on the inside of government, especially people not very high up (and District Attorney isn't), tend to resent any limitations on their authority. The problem with government (a P.J. O'Rourke observed) is that it gives every pissant and anthill to piss off of.

Stan B said...

How do they prosecute this case without allowing the defendant to inform the jury about "jury nullification?" Seems a silly move on the prosecutor's part.

Anonymous said...

The fully informed jury movement is surprisingly strong in the western United States (even in the soviets of Washington and California). Judges and prosecutors hate it and much more often than is reported prosecute those who hand out literature on this subject although several have paid out judgments due to abridgement of free speech. If you tell the prosecutor you believe in the informed jury or jury nullification concept they will almost invariably remove you from the jury pool.


Anonymous said...

Whether or not you believe in "jury nullification" or not, the fact of the matter is that when you serve on a jury you agree and swear to the idea that you will render a verdict according to the evidence and the law and not your sense of "right and wrong."

The theory for removing people from in front of the court building is that the person is, in effect, telling people to commit perjury by agreeing to something they aren't going to do. Perjury is a crime and aiding or encouraging a crime is a crime as well.

In the abstract jury nullification sounds fine, but what happens when you have someone who beats up a black kid and the jury won't convict because of "jury nullification?" What happens when a cop gets off because of it? Or what happens when a cop killer gets off because of juy nullification?

It is a very fine and thin line to walk.

I am not saying I am for or against what this guy did, only that there are reasons that encouraging people to commit the crime of perjury is not a good thing.

Bird of Paradise said...

End this racialy mixed jury nonsense