Fully Informed Jury Association

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FIJA in the News & Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 10 Mar 2014

-Are Jury Tampering Charges in Lamb Case Politically Motivated?

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Jury BoxIt’s no secret that judges, prosecutors, and other government officials are not usually fans of jury nullification, for obvious reasons such as that juries have the power to overrule them in court. We recently brought you news that candidate for Sheriff of Greene County, Illinois, Luke Lamb, has been charged with unlawful communication with a juror for sharing a link to the FIJA website and making comments about jury nullification on Facebook to someone who apparently requested the information. This move comes just days before the primary voting for Sheriff. Lamb’s attorney provides the full context of this move in the below press release, noting that “The complete lack of investigation by the prosecution further demonstrates the underlying ulterior motive and the political hack job nature of this criminal Complaint against Mr. Lamb.” We are providing the press release in its entirety below, along with a link to Scribd where it can be read or downloaded.

Letter from Lamb’s Attorney

Patrick A. Watts Attorney
5757 Phantom Drive, Suite 250
St. Louis, MO 63042-0130
Phone: 314-669-5490
Email: pwatts@swattslaw.com
sturyczwatts.com
Licensed: Illinois & Missouri
Federal Court Admissions: SDIL, NDIL, EDMO
Sturycz Watts LLC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mr. Luke Lamb is currently running for Sheriff of Greene County, Illinois, a small county located approximately one hour north of St. Louis, Missouri. He is also a Board member of Greene County, Illinois and was elected in November 2012. Mr. Lamb has created a splash in the small county government of Greene County by advocating against police check points and other infringements on what he believes are the Constitutional rights of the citizens of his county.

Mr. Lamb classifies himself as a “Constitutional Sheriff’s Candidate”, advocating for individual liberty and limited police intervention.

Mr. Lamb has received news coverage over the last several years by video-taping police during his display of an “Impeach Obama” sign over an Illinois overpass in an attempt to demonstrate his first amendment Constitutional rights as well as videotaping St. Louis County police drinking and then driving.

From the factually baseless and wholly uninvestigated criminal complaint recently filed against Mr. Lamb, as more fully explained below, it appears that his advocacy for individual liberties and his candidacy for Sheriff have created quite a backlash against him in the small-town law enforcement community of Greene County, Illinois.

For glaring example, the primary voting for Sheriff’s Candidate in Greene County, for which Mr. Lamb is currently unopposed, is scheduled for March 18, 2014, less than two weeks from today and the filing of the Complaint.

Mr. Lamb was also recently pulled over in White Hall, Illinois, the most populous town in Greene County, by the White Hall police department minutes after giving the key-note speech at the sole Greene County political candidate convention for his party this year.

Mr. Lamb is currently charged with “Communicating with Jurors” because of a Facebook post he left in a public forum in response to a friend’s request for information from him. The Complaint alleges that Mr. Lamb’s comments were intended by Mr. Lamb to influence his friend, who had indicated by way of a Facebook comment, that he had been selected for jury duty.

Mr. Lamb posted a link to a site titled “Fully Informed Jury Association” or fija.org in response to his friend’s request. Mr. Lamb, in jest, further made a comment about nullification. Mr. Lamb later went on to comment on the same post that the juror should only hang the jury “if necessary”, demonstrating that he was leaving any decision about the individual case up to the juror. The juror was already intending to investigate the issue of jury nullification on his own and Mr. Lamb knew this. Thus, Mr. Lamb had no intent to influence because the juror was already “influenced” prior to his selection as a juror.

The Complaint was filed by the prosecution without the prosecution or any law enforcement agency interviewing the juror about his understanding of the meaning of Mr. Lamb’s comments. A simple interview of the juror would have clarified that Mr. Lamb in no way intended to influence the juror, but was rather simply providing information that the juror was already aware of at the time and information that Mr. Lamb and the juror had discussed on numerous occasions prior to the juror’s selection for jury duty.

Further, it is clear that Mr. Lamb’s comments had no effect on the juror or the jury pool because nullification or anything of that nature was not discussed during jury deliberations or at any time. The complete lack of investigation by the prosecution further demonstrates the underlying ulterior motive and the political hack job nature of this criminal Complaint against Mr. Lamb.

The 12-0 jury verdict against the prosecution in the case that the juror sat on following Mr. Lamb’s comments, which came down approximately 6 weeks ago, may very well have led to the apparent referral of Mr. Lamb for prosecution. Prosecutors do not like to lose, especially in front of their voting constituency, a jury.

Mr. Lamb’s comments, for which he is charged, are clearly political speech, the highest category of protected speech under the United States Constitution’s First Amendment and only when taken entirely out of context, i.e. without investigation, can they be viewed as an attempt to influence anyone.

As a county board member, Mr. Lamb clearly has the popularity to seriously compete for the office of Sheriff. This case reeks of small town political retribution in an apparent attempt to remove Mr. Lamb from the ballot and retaliate for the prosecution’s failure to prove the simple elements of a speeding in a school zone case.

Sincerely,

/s/ Patrick A. Watts

Patrick A. Watts

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