Yesterday, a jury unanimously stood in defense of juror educators’ right to share general education information about jury nullification and the Fully Informed Jury Association on Facebook, in delivering a Not Guilty verdict in the case of Luke Lamb. Greene County, Illinois board member Lamb was charged with unlawful communication with a juror after his opponent in the local political race for sheriff sent a Facebook conversation of his to the State’s Attorney’s office for review.
Local Greene County Radio Station WLDS 1180 AM reported yesterday on Lamb’s big court victory:
BREAKING: “Not guilty” in Lamb case
On the final day of a two-day trial, jurors discussed the case for several hours before reaching a verdict. The Class Four felony charged against Lamb stemmed from an allegation that Lamb tried to get jury member Mark Boston to “vote not guilty” and “hang the jury if necessary” on a Greene County Court case.
Greene County Sheriff Rob McMillen was one of several people called to the stand yesterday. After the conclusion of the trial, Lamb’s attorney Patrick Watts had some strong feelings against the way McMillen handled the case.
“You have a sheriff who tried to execute a political hit- there’s really no other way to describe it- on his political opponent. This is the worst type of small-town policing that exists,” Watts claims. “And I tell you what- they’re not going go to do it again.”
In an interview on the Liberty Round Table podcast, Lamb’s attorney Patrick Watts commented on the case. (The interview starts about 5 minutes into the program.)
Underlying this and argued to the jury was all the underlying political motive, and just the common sense ridiculousness of someone being prosecuted for a public Facebook post during their campaign when they’re not even talking about a case and they’re not motivated to do anything or to sway anybody in a case. It’s absurd. I mean this is all political commentary, Sam. And the jury saw it…
That really tied into Luke’s broader message about the jury system. Hey, let’s stop wasting everybody’s time and money sitting jurors for ridiculous political hits, ridiculous victimless crimes. Why are we doing that?
The Sheriff’s motive or the opportunity for motive seems very obvious… I don’t know motive. Maybe it was just an error, but it’s hard to believe in ‘just errors’ when it’s so political and you’re trying to strike down a board member. You realize that the result of Mr. Lamb being convicted in this case would be that he could never sit on the Greene County board again, which he’s currently a board member, and he could never run for public office in the United States again in his life. That’s what they were trying to win with this trial.
The host asked about the possibility that a county sheriff who would target a political opponent would then go after the jurors in this case. Watts responds:
They all know how the system works, and in these small counties that don’t get publicity and don’t have real criminal defenses thrown at them, the police really think that with their big mustaches they can drive around and do whatever they want. They can drive 100 miles an hour through town and pull you over. They can do whatever they want, and they’re watching you. They’re watching you on Facebook. But I’m not going to go that far because there’s a lot of good cops in this county and that was very clear during the case. But the jurors did express concerns that, wait a minute, I’m voting against their fearless leader. Am I going to get pulled over? I mean this was all after the jury trial. Am I going to-are they going to harass me? And the fact that they have to ask that question is a sign and a symptom of that’s a problem.
Congratulations to Luke Lamb on this big win in court!
See previous FIJA coverage of this case:
-Jury Nullification Educator Called for Jury Duty on Date of His Own Trial
-Jury Nullification Educator’s Case Continues
-Lamb Seeks Dismissal of Felony Charge for Jury Nullification Posting on Facebook
-Are Jury Tampering Charges in Lamb Case Politically Motivated?
-Jury Nullification Comments, Link to FIJA on Facebook Prompt Jury Tampering Charge