Juror Rights Educators Triumph AGAIN in Denver
Kirsten C. Tynan
Denver, CO—This morning Judge Kenneth Plotz dismissed all felony jury-tampering charges that had been pending against juror rights educators Mark Iannicelli and Eric Brandt for handing out Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) brochures at the Lindsey-Flanigan courthouse in Denver, Colorado. Each was charged with seven counts of felony jury tampering as outlined in the Complaint and Information document, despite there never being any evidence that they were trying to influence the outcome of any particular case.
Iannicelli and Brandt were represented in court by attorneys David Lane and Lonn Heymann, who argued for dismissal of the charges. After approximately 90 minutes of argument and a short recess of about 20 minutes, the judge returned with his ruling. In dismissing the charges, he noted that such charges for handing out FIJA brochures amounted to an unconstitutional application of the jury tampering law and swept in speech that is protected under the First Amendment.
Earlier this year, a federal court judge granted an injunction sought by attorney David Lane on behalf of the Fully Informed Jury Association and co-plaintiffs Eric Verlo and Janet Matzen to prevent any further such unconstitutional arrests. The court made clear at that time that such activity is protected under the First Amendment.
Nonetheless, Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey chose to continue his vendetta, wasting even more taxpayer dollars and harassing harmless Colorado residents, as he refused to drop the charges against Iannicelli and Brandt.
In spite of the possibility of years in jail hanging over their heads, Iannicelli and Brandt have continued courageously for months to work alongside other juror rights educators at the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse, doing exactly the same kind of outreach that they had been arrested for this past summer.
In discussing this court victory, Eric Brandt paraphrased a memorable quote (usually attributed to Edmund Burke) that all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to stand by and do nothing. “I chose not to stand by,” Brandt said. “The world is run by those who show up. I elected to show up.”
FIJA has updated with today’s victory its infographic entitled Is Juror Rights Education Legal or Is It “Jury Tampering”? detailing cases in which such prosecutorial abuses are shot down in court.
“We look forward to adding yet another such victory in the case of Keith Wood, a juror rights educator also abusively mischarged in recent weeks by disgruntled courthouse officials in Mecosta County, Michigan,” said FIJA executive director Kirsten Tynan.
Tynan noted that FIJA has a goal to start offering in 2016 an ongoing supply of free brochures to juror rights educators conducting outreach at any courthouse where juror rights educators have been victorious over arrests and threats of arrests for handing out FIJA literature. “All incentive for government officials to harass juror rights educators in an attempt to quash our message would immediately disappear if such efforts were guaranteed to do the exact opposite and spread the message much further,” Tynan said.
In order to combat such prosecutorial bullying, FIJA invites legal professionals to join its newly forming Volunteer Attorney Network. Volunteer attorneys can protect First Amendment rights and support juror rights education by assisting FIJA pro bono in securing injunctions against these types of legal arrests, representing juror rights educators who are falsely prosecuted for jury tampering, and so on.
About the Fully Informed Jury Association
The Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, nonpartisan, educational organization headquartered in Helena, Montana. Focusing on issues involving the role of the jury in our justice system, FIJA seeks to preserve the full function of the jury as the final arbiter in our courts of law by informing everyone about their rights, powers and responsibilities in delivering just verdicts when serving as jurors. The organization does not advocate for or against any case in progress, but rather seeks to fully inform everyone of all their options when serving on juries. This includes the option to conscientiously acquit when a just verdict requires it by voting Not Guilty, even if they believe the law has technically been broken, without fear of punishment for their verdict.
● Denver DA Press Release, 10 August 2015 (.pdf)
● Complaint and Information and Statement of Probable Cause (.pdf)
● Civil Rights Complaint
● Exhibit 1 to the Complaint
● Exhibit 2 to the Complaint
● Exhibit 3 to the Complaint
● Motion for Preliminary Injunction
● Amended Motion for Preliminary Injunction
● Order Granting Motion for Preliminary Injunction
● Motion for Order to Show Cause Why Defendant Robert C. White Should Not Be Held in Contempt of Court
● Exhibit 1 to the Motion to Show Cause
● Exhibit 2 to the Motion to Show Cause
Other FIJA Documentation
● Is Juror Rights Education Legal or “Jury Tampering”? infographic
● Man Sharing Jury Nullification Information Arrested in Denver
● Denver DA Doubles Down on Jury Nullification Arrests
● FIJA Seeks Injunction Against Denver Arrests for Free Speech
● Denver DA Creates Countless Fully Informed Jurors
● Judge Halts Unconstitutional Ban on Juror Rights Education
● Malicious Prosecutions Continued by Denver DA’s Office