Jury Nullification Group Fights Denver

     DENVER (CN) – The Fully Informed Jury Association, advocates for jury nullification, claims Denver police illegally arrested two members on bogus felony charges of jury tampering as they distributed leaflets outside a courthouse.
     Eric Brandt and Mark Iannicelli were arrested on July 27 as they handed out brochures on juror nullification outside the Lindsey-Flannigan Denver County Courthouse, the main criminal courthouse in Denver.
     They were arrested after they gave a brochure to a person who was serving on a jury, according to the lawsuit, in which Brandt and Iannicelli are not participating.
     The association says its two co-plaintiffs are members who want to hand out brochures in front of the courthouse, but will not do so for fear of arrest.
     They sued the City and County of Denver and its Police Chief Robert White.
     “The defendants have twice arrested individuals for passing out such literature and charged each with seven felony counts of jury tampering simply for handing out pamphlets describing a juror’s power to engage in jury nullification,” the complaint states.
     Juror nullification involves acquitting a defendant in defiance of law, or a judge’s explanation of the law. The association says on its Web page that jury nullification can “protect fellow citizens from tyrannical abuses of power by government.”
     Attorney David Lane, who represents Iannicelli and Brandt, told Denver County Magistrate Judge Kate Boland on Wednesday that theirs is a “classic First Amendment” case.
     “[Iannicelli and Brandt] were not targeting any specific person,” Lane said. “They were not targeting any specific case. They were not targeting any specific ideology. People going into the building were being given pamphlets by Mr. Iannicelli and Mr. Brandt. That is the definition of First Amendment protected free speech.”
     Lane also represents the Fully Informed Jury Association. In that lawsuit, he says his clients are “deeply committed to concepts of individual freedom and liberty and all believe that the government needs to be kept in check by educating citizens regarding the rights and liberties they enjoy as citizens of the United States.”
     Neither the Fully Informed Jury Association nor the Denver city attorney responded to requests for comment Wednesday.
     The Denver Post described Brandt as “a familiar figure downtown because he is known to carry a large sign with a profane message for police.”

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