Sunday, August 2, 2015

Quickies: You Only Thought You Have Freedom Of Speech

     It’s not bad enough that a “judge” revealed as an Obama appointee and a major Obama bundler should think he can trump the First Amendment with a prior-restraint injunction against the Center for Medical Progress. No, via InstaPundit, we have a new outrage to free-expression rights:

     Denver prosecutors have charged a man with seven counts of jury tampering after they say he tried to influence jurors by passing out literature on jury nullification on Monday.

     Mark Iannicelli, 56, set up a small booth with a sign that said "Juror Info" in front of the city's Lindsay-Flanigan Courthouse courthouse, prosecutors say.

     The Denver District Attorney's Office says Iannicelli provided jury nullification flyers to jury pool members.

     Jury nullification is when jurors believe a defendant is guilty of the charges but reject the law and return a not guilty verdict.

     How is this even possible without a specific charge that the accused tried to influence the vote of one or more specific jurors, or the verdict of one or more specific juries? The brief article cited here doesn’t provide any indication that Iannicelli did anything but pass out pamphlets that contain wholly correct information: i.e., that a juror cannot be punished for his vote regardless of in which direction it goes. How is this jury tampering?

     The Denver D.A. who leveled those charges deserves removal from office and subsequent disbarment. Will it happen? Probably not; the rest of the legal profession will laager up around him. Moreover, judges are notoriously hostile to the concept of jury nullification. Criminal defense lawyers who mention it during a trial are often cited for contempt or worse.

     Colorado recently enacted some of the worst anti-gun-rights laws in the nation. Despite punitive recalls of two of the legislators involved, those laws still stand. Perhaps the state’s political elite fears the black eye that would come from the nullification of those laws. I can’t help but wonder: Were Ayn Rand alive and writing Atlas Shrugged today. would she site Galt’s Gulch in Colorado?


Rick C said...

Of course, they'll NEVER bring this guy to court on that charge, because they'd have to explain to the jurors why the arrested him.

Dr.D said...
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Reg T said...

Jury nullification _should_ have been a strong defensive weapon against the "laws" our un-Representatives in Congress create in such over-abundance. Alas, I'm certain that they would pass a law - or an Executive Order - against it if it were used as often as it should be. I have read of jurors being cited and jailed for "lying during voir dire" because they hadn't admitted to a belief in jury nullification.