Just yesterday we received word from Eric Verlo, a plaintiff on the lawsuit to make a preliminary injunction against this kind of behavior a permanent injunction, regarding an illegal threat of arrest of someone handing out FIJA brochures at the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse. The activist reports:
Jury Nullification activist threatened with arrest. 8:40am, October 11, 2016.
On Tuesday, Oct 11, a Denver jury nullification pamphleteer was once again told they could not be in front of the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse on pain of arrest. An hour into quietly passing out jury nullification fliers and engaging passersby in polite conversations, a lone activist was accosted by courthouse deputies and threatened with arrest if she didn’t remove herself to the sidewalk.
This incident occurred at the temporary south entrance of the courthouse, where Occupy Denver activists have been distributing jury nullification fliers on weekday mornings, 7:30-9:00 am, without incident since moving from the main doors. For over a month, construction at the main entrance of Lindsay-Flanigan Courthouse has shifted public traffic to a makeshift south entrance, off the picnic area on the plaza.
(On the diagram accompanying the Martinez “Plaza Order” CJO-1, this picnic area is on the southern portion of the “Yellow Zone”.)
Specifically the activist was told by deputies:
“You can’t be here.”
“The Captain says you have to be by the sidewalk or you will be cited.”
“You are too close to people and there has been a complaint.”
“If you do not move from this area we will call the police.”
At first the activist felt intimidated. She observed a half dozen courthouse deputies watching her from the entrance. Although she objected to the instructions given her, she complied.
After five minutes or so standing where directed, outside of the flow of people coming in and out of the courthouse, the activist returned to her original spot adjacent the walkway leading to the temporary entrance. Within minutes two Denver Police Department (DPD) officers arrived and five courthouse deputies joined them to surround the activist.
The activist continued to assert her right to distribute pamphlets at that location and then used her phone to call me, so that I serve as a witness to what would transpire. The time was 8:43 am.
After two more police officers arrived in separate DPD cruisers, the uniformed group left the activist and went into the courthouse to confer. A DPD officer was seen making a phone call.
Shortly, the officers emerged to stand outside the courthouse observing the activist for about twenty minutes. Before they departed at 9:09 am, two of the officers were persuaded to tender business cards. The cards identified DPD Officer *name and badge number redacted*, and *name and badge number redacted*.
A witness to this incident was *name redacted*, an unrelated justice reform advocate who remained on the perimeter of this incident. Even though *name redacted* wielded a bullhorn and multiple signs, neither the deputies nor police took issue with her.
*name of juror rights activist redacted* was the activist accosted. She remained quiet and non-confrontational throughout the incident. But she stood resolute, despite being traumatized at the prospect of being taken into custody.
Occupy Denver activists have maintained a regular schedule of jury nullification outreach, with alternating participants on weekdays. We do not always have the resources to have multiple participants each day, but each person is experienced and well coached about conducting themselves with civility. Listening on the phone that morning I can attest that *name of juror rights activist redacted* remained calm throughout.
I find it very disturbing that people with supervisory authority at the courthouse could still think they can call the police on our well-litigated jury nullification activity. The blonde woman who *name of juror rights activist redacted* recognized to be the courthouse building administrator was standing outside observing the incident from the start.