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Function of Juries & Jurors Doing Justice & Jury Nullification | 04 Mar 2014

-Jury Acquits Minnesota Man of Filming Police

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Jury BoxIn less than 90 minutes, a Minnesota jury acquitted Andrew Henderson of filming police and an ambulance crew. When Henderson refused to identify himself to a sheriff’s deputy, the deputy confiscated his camera. While the camera was in police custody, the video footage that he expected to use as evidence in his defense mysteriously disappeared. This is reminiscent of the case of Phil Mocek, who was able to recover the footage deleted by law enforcement officers. In a strange twist, the prosecution presented it in court, conclusively demonstrating that their own witnesses had perjured themselves on the stand during his trial.

Jury acquits Little Canada man who videotaped deputy, ambulance crew

Andrew Henderson said he will continue shooting videos of police after a Ramsey County jury found him not guilty Thursday of criminal charges filed against him after he turned his camera on Ramsey County sheriff’s deputies and an ambulance crew in 2012.

Henderson, 29, was charged with misdemeanor crimes of disorderly conduct and interfering with an ambulance crew.

He thought he would be exonerated by the video he shot, but when he got his camera back from police weeks after the incident, the recording was gone, Henderson said.

A six-person jury found Henderson not guilty Thursday after less than 90 minutes of deliberation at the end of a two-day trial that drew attention of civil liberties advocates. The Minneapolis-based Fredrikson & Byron law firm provided free legal representation to Henderson in association with the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota.

Henderson said he could have resolved the case by accepting a prosecution offer to plead guilty to a petty misdemeanor and pay a $50 fine.

But Henderson insisted on a trial.

“It’s the principle of it,” Henderson said. “It’s our First Amendment right to film law enforcement personnel.”

In spite of the court victory, Henderson’s case illustrates how government officials can effectively punish defendants without ever securing a conviction:
Jurors acquit Little Canada man who videotaped deputies, paramedics

Andrew J. Henderson spent a year fighting the criminal charges against him and said he was passed up for about 10 jobs when background checks showed that he was being prosecuted for filming paramedics and sheriff’s deputies outside his apartment complex.

Jurors should remember that by the time a case ever goes to trial, the defendant has ALREADY been through a gauntlet of pre-trial punishment including such things as the physical and psychological trauma of being roughed up by police and jail officials, legal expenses just to be able to get a trial, additional costs such as lost income, lost job opportunities, loss of financial aid if they are in school, the toll this takes on relationships with family and friends, damage to their reputation in their workplace and community even though they have not been convicted, and more. It takes a certain level of fortitude in the face of all this pre-trial punishment for a person accused of a legal offense ever to get to a jury trial. When we serve as jurors, we should be aware of this and take it into consideration as we deliberate over what is the most just verdict we can render.

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