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[–] axolotl__peyotl [S] 1 points 105 points (+106|-1) ago 

Source

Last week, a Denver man was arrested and charged with multiple felonies, but not for stealing, committing fraud, or engaging in violent crime.

He was targeted for attempting to educate jurors about their rights in the courtroom.

Mark Ianicelli, 56, set up a table outside of Lindsay-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver in order to educate jurors about jury nullification. Jury nullification is the process by which members of juries can nullify unjust laws by finding defendants charged with them not guilty.

Ianicelli is charged with tampering with a jury, a felony in Colorado that carries a minimum bond of $5,000. He was charged by the Denver District Attorney for seven counts of tampering, and has since bailed out of jail.

Ianicelli was in the second day of a planned three-day outreach to educate jurors entering the courtroom about the power of jury nullification. He was handing out fliers when he was arrested. His goal was to inform potential jurors about a vital, centuries-old function of juries.

The practice was first used in America in 1735 to exonerate a man of libel charges after he printed unflattering statements about the Governor of New York (a British colony at the time).

Though he had undoubtedly printed them, the jury found him not guilty and set the precedent that members of juries could judge the morality and legitimacy of laws.

The United States’ first Chief Justice, John Jay, once told jurors, “You have a right to take upon yourselves to judge [both the facts and law].” Jurors would seize this right to nullify anti-sedition laws in the early 1800s that attempted to stifle free speech criticizing the newly formed United States government.

Judges first began cracking down on the right to nullify in the late 1800s.

By that time, jurors had already used nullification to challenge the Fugitive Slave Act, which imposed heavy punishment on Northerners who aided escaped slaves from the South. Though judges came to discourage nullification, the practice went on to be useful in nullifying Prohibition-era laws.

Jury nullification still affects prohibition against outlawed drugs. In 2012, a New Hampshire jury acquitted a Rastafarian man, Doug Darrell, of growing marijuana—though he was technically guilty of the violation.

The jurors had been informed of their right to nullify and found the law and charges against Darrell to be unjust. They found him not guilty.

However, this power of the people has not gone unchecked. Though some states allow for the practice, judges often fail to notify jurors of their ability to nullify.

Activists have been harassed and jailed for attempting to inform jurors of their right to judge the morality of laws.

The Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA), a non-profit organization that educates jurors on their rights (and whose pamphlets Ianicelli was handing out when he was arrested), is one group that attempts to counter these suppressions by the justice system.

Kirsten Tynan of FIJA reported on Ianicelli’s case, stating that officials in Denver claimed a juror had complained about Ianicelli’s presence near the courthouse, prompting his arrest. Tynan was told Ianicelli was arrested on charges of jury tampering, which according to Colorado law, consists of:

  1. A person commits jury-tampering if, with intent to influence a juror’s vote, opinion, decision, or other action in a case, he attempts directly or indirectly to communicate with a juror other than as a part of the proceedings in the trial of the case.

  2. A person commits jury-tampering if he knowingly participates in the fraudulent processing or selection of jurors or prospective jurors.

  3. Jury-tampering is a class 5 felony; except that jury-tampering in any class 1 felony trial is a class 4 felony.”

Though Tynan acknowledged that under some circumstances nullification activism is not legally permissible, it appears Ianicelli was within his rights. He is due back in court on August 11 to face his victimless felony charges.

It is more than alarming that a man attempting to facilitate and strengthen the judicial process is punished with the full force of the law—the very thing Ianicelli sought to educate jurors about.

As Harlan F. Stone, the 12th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court said in 1941, “The law itself is on trial quite as much as the cause which is to be decided.”

When the justice system refuses to allow jurors to be aware of their rights, let alone exercise them, the country’s entire system of “law and order” is called into question.

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[–] Fukensmoken 0 points 40 points (+40|-0) ago 

Thank you! Terrible mobile website; several pop up ads and automatically launched the App Store.

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[–] axolotl__peyotl [S] 1 points 30 points (+31|-1) ago 

Of course! I appreciate independent sites like this, but their ads and other clutter can turn off a lot of folks (although I do understand they need revenue).

So yeah, I try to provide the full article (with sources) whenever I can.

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[–] philomath 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

Hit reader view as soon as the option becomes available. I found it a few weeks ago and wont read a story without it.

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[–] Womb_Raider 1 points 5 points (+6|-1) ago 

This is insane! Are there any updates on him? Is he okay?

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[–] kaizendaruma 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Wow, in detaining him, they managed to amplify the man's audience many-fold.

I'll count that as a win.

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[–] makaw 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

In the Great History of Jury Nullification this article seems to avoid that nasty bit where KKK Members like Byron De La Beckwith wre acquitted of murder. Cause laws treating blacks as people were unjust. Not to mention nullification found in some police brutality cases. It's all fun and games until support is given to the group you hate.

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[–] Sullysq 0 points 57 points (+57|-0) ago  (edited ago)

I can see the trial already. His jury will end up being the most educated on the practice of jury nullification ever and with that knowledge and witnessing the use of law to directly silence that information they'll most certainly find him innocent. He'd be a fool if he took any kind of deal. And his prosecutor would be a fool to ever let it reach trial.

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[–] chakan2 2 points 24 points (+26|-2) ago 

Actually, the first thing prosecution will do is try to throw out any discussion of nullification and make sure the case focuses on influencing the jury.

This guy is screwed.

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[–] CatFarm 0 points 14 points (+14|-0) ago 

How do you 'throw out' a discussion once it has been discussed?

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[–] Sullysq 0 points 9 points (+9|-0) ago 

True. But the trial won't go far without the question of the nature and content of his influence being brought up. And I'm sure the pamphlet will be entered as evidence. Even for the prosecution, without evidence of his tampering he can't be found guilty of tampering.

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[–] Balrogic 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Deny Defense Exhibit A, the flier in question. Mistrial. Oops, guess that conviction isn't worth squat.

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[–] i_am_not_crazy 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Don't need to talk about nullification. They need to discuss the importance of education, and if he was educating these individuals in a lawful manner.

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[–] sinsaint 6 points 7 points (+13|-6) ago  (edited ago)

Actually, one issue with Jury Nullification is that it is considered a belief that is against the case.

When you sign the papers to be a part of a jury, one of the things they ask is if you have any beliefs that will prevent you from coming to a proper answer. Being educated on Jury Nullification is one of those things, and talking about it when you said you know nothing about it is considered perjury. But if you say you have knowledge of it, they'll choose someone else to be a juror.

So the only way you can technically use it is when you don't know it exists and accidentally use it in court. Otherwise, you're cheating.

And let's not pretend it's always a good thing. There's a case where blacks in the south were sent to hang for a crime they didn't commit, because the jury decided they were guilty without proof, which is the same thing as jury nullification. It basically says "despite what the evidence or law states, this is what we, the people, think should happen". The people voted to kill those men against the law that would keep them alive.

Jury Nullification isn't a divine shield for the people. It's a gun. And there's a reason why they don't let jurors bring in firearms.

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[–] Zodi 1 points 7 points (+8|-1) ago  (edited ago)

Jury nullification doesn't work backwards. A jury cannot find someone guilty without evidence. You may be referencing some crazy racist southern town.

Okay so I'm wrong, but he was still referencing a crazy racist southern town in the 50s. Of course they aren't going to give them a fair trial.

[–] [deleted] 0 points 5 points (+5|-0) ago 

[Deleted]

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[–] DrRedbeard 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

"Prevent you from coming to a 'proper' answer" is subjective itself. The assumption is that the use of jury nullification is not a proper answer, when the history of its use and even the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court disagree.

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[–] YourDumbWhat 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Are you saying that merely knowing about the existence of jury nullification is sufficient cause to not be selected as a juror? It's not like it's a guarantee they'd do it: it's just an indicator that they have some knowledge about the criminal justice system. How is knowledge an impediment to justice?

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[–] machina70 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

The jury will be instructed that any attempt to judge the law versus the merits of the case will be cause for removal, attempts to instruct others on judging the law versus the merits of the case will result in prosecution.

Jury nullification is something that can happen, but it's loophole, it is not allowed and if proved before the verdict is rendered will be stopped. (but once the verdict is rendered... then it's done)

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[–] Balrogic 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

The jury will be instructed that any attempt to judge the law versus the merits of the case will be cause for removal,

You know what? Everyone should take up that cause, flat out tell them you intend to judge the merit of the law if you remain on the jury. You will never get stuck on jury duty until they start allowing nullification. No one will. Since they can't get jurors they're willing to keep they'll have to let people go scott free until they come to their senses.

[–] [deleted] 1 points 38 points (+39|-1) ago 

[Deleted]

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[–] Scine 0 points 5 points (+5|-0) ago 

You armed?

[–] [deleted] 1 points 8 points (+9|-1) ago 

[Deleted]

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[–] Detry 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

But you cannot honestly think that it used to be better, it used to be a lot worse. The doom calling is a bit premature.

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[–] machina70 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

The guy was doing this on the court room steps actively looking for people on jury duty.

It's pretty slam dunk.

[–] [deleted] 5 points -1 points (+4|-5) ago 

[Deleted]

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[–] HotBoyRonald 0 points 9 points (+9|-0) ago 

Wait...did you just use this a podium to preach anti-theism? How is that related?

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[–] stevenxdavis 1 points 22 points (+23|-1) ago  (edited ago)

Jury nullification is scary as shit to prosecutors. Keep in mind that their main weapon against accused criminals is their ability to intimidate them into signing plea bargains instead of going to a jury trial and risking a heavier sentence. If those defendants knew they stood a good chance of avoiding a conviction because the jury knew the trial a waste of taxpayer time and money and could choose to vote not guilty for that very reason, then more defendants would go to trial, which would clog up the criminal justice system immediately. Plea bargains are the only thing that keeps the courts from grinding to a halt over these pointless drug charges. Widespread jury nullification would spark a huge step towards meaningful criminal justice reform, which is why nobody is allowed to talk about it. Never forget that if you ever get put on a jury for a trivial drug offense.

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[–] Hobbes 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

That is the saddest part of the American justice system. Even if it was fair and a jury of your peers was employed to judge guilt or innocence, the system itself does not employ even a fraction of the people to get a trial in a reasonable amount of time. If even half of those arrested went to trial, it would take years to get to trial, and that means a lot more prison time just waiting for your trial to take place if you cannot make bail.

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[–] axiotomaton 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

A violation of the Speedy Trial Clause is cause for dismissal with prejudice of a criminal case.

I guess in that case people would invoke their right to a speedy trial and the whole justice system house of cards would collapse.

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[–] YourDumbWhat 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

True, though folks will also accept pleas just because they can't afford bail, and the plea will get them home faster than sitting in jail for six months waiting before you can stand trail. Choice A: admit guilt and go home in under a year. Choice B: plead innocence and sit in jail for months on end waiting for your trial date: best case you get out around the same time you would have had you accepted the plea, you've lost your job regardless, but hey, at least you don't have those charges on your criminal record. Worst case you're guilty and get to spend even more time in prison, fuuuuuuuuuck.

So if you're poor, it's often the best case to swallow your pride and accept the plea even if you are innocent.

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[–] Zorton 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

Well, the trial will be on a record, guilty or not and a future employer will judge that you even went to trail as a downside. They aren't supposed to but they will, and if questioned, there will be another reason given for why they didn't hire you.

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[–] plastination_station 0 points 8 points (+8|-0) ago 

What's hilarious is that his court hearing will educate his own jury about jury nullification laws. It would be a great day for freedom if he was acquitted by a nullification.

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[–] 404_SLEEP_NOT_FOUND 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago  (edited ago)

I wouldn't be surprised if they have some way to keep this from a trial (by jury). After all, like you said, hearing. They may never give him a court date, which sounds insane because they are required to in the constitution. However, a lot of official bodies aren't really following that thing anymore. And what if they don't give him a trial by jury? What's going to happen? Nothing. Nobody is going to grab their gun or do shit. It's just another "hey look, they're doing what they want and disregarding the constitution".

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[–] Zodi 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

Then he can say the his rights are being violated, since he needs to be tried by a jury of his peers.

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[–] un1ty 0 points 5 points (+5|-0) ago  (edited ago)

If he can get a trial by jury, this will be so meta.

He's arrested for telling potential jurors about jury nullification, but to charge him and subsequently try him by a jury of peers, they must inform them of jury nullification.

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[–] Sorahzahd 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

The prosecution would likely select based on ignorance of jury nullification, or possibly based on how opposed jurors are to people having rights at all.

I expect any trial that results from this will be a farce designed to continue the chilling effect of prosecution for exercising ones rights.

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[–] Skeletor 0 points 5 points (+5|-0) ago 

On a Side note, If you never want to called for jury duty. Send in your questionnaire back with a Nullification flier.

12 years going now. Haven't been called once.

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[–] Zodi 0 points 8 points (+8|-0) ago 

Or just show up and say "I know about jury nullification, and I'm willing to educate the rest of the jury if I'm picked."

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[–] Skeletor 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

That would likely work as well.

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[–] SecureRhino 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

If everyone educated about the judical system would get out of jury duty this way, what kind of jury would that leave us with? Certainly not one I want to stand in front of.

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[–] Shagoosty 1 points 1 points (+2|-1) ago 

Shhhh, let voat circle jerk about how amazing it is to let 12 people decide to let someone go because they liked them or didn't like the law.

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[–] carlip 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

On mobile, but doesn't the suspect have to target specific members rather than blanket information? This is just judicial intimidation.

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