Jury Nullification

Denver Police Continue Harassing Jury Nullification Activists, One Day After a Federal Judge Told Them to Cut It Out

According to the cops, a stack of pamphlets is an illegal "encumbrance."



Two days ago, a federal judge ordered Denver police to refrain from harassing activists distributing jury nullification pamphlets near the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse, activity that the city conceded is protected by the First Amendment. Yesterday morning, according to a new motion filed by the lawyer representing Eric Verlo and Janet Matzen, the two activists who sought the injunction, "a cadre of Denver police officers" descended upon them and several associates as they were engaged in exactly the sort of pamphleting described in the injunction. The lawyer, David Lane, says the cops seized "all literature regarding jury nullification including about 1,000 pamphlets, a small shade shelter, a table, four chairs, buckets, a cooler, signs and other items." He adds that the officers even "attempted to take personal property such as purses, computers, backpacks and other items" from the activists, but "the pamphleteers resisted the attempts by the police to steal their personal property."


The official justification for this raid is that the seized items constituted illegal "encumbrances of the right-of-way" under Denver's municipal code. The code does not define that term, Lane says, so police "have decided that anything and everything in the possession of the Plaintiffs and their associates is an 'encumbrance' and may be removed." To the left is a photograph that Lane submitted along with his motion, which asks U.S. District Judge William J. Martinez to hold Denver Police Chief Robert C. White in contempt of court. The picture, which I have helpfully labeled so you can identify the "encumbrance" that Denver police found intolerable, shows that the activists were not by any stretch of the imagination obstructing traffic into or out of the courthouse. "The mere presence of a packet of literature, a small shade shelter canopy, a cooler, a small table and signs encumbered nothing," Lane writes. "The Denver police, acting as jack-booted thugs in blatant violation of this Court's Order, came into the plaza and began seizing all property not being carried by a pamphleteer. The only plausible explanation for this is that the police were acting in retaliation for the exercise of the free speech rights of the pamphleteers."

The Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA), which produces the pamphlets distributed by Verlo and Matzen, joined them in their lawsuit, and plans to hold a Jury Rights Day event at the courthouse on September 4, reports that the activists' property had not been returned as of last night. "When one of the juror rights educators went to the police department to inquire what was the reason for the delay in returning the stolen property," FIJA says, "he was told that property owners must identify their property to retrieve it."

A pattern seems to be developing. Yesterday I noted that Denver, even while admitting that distributing jury nullification pamphlets near a courthouse is constitutionally protected, is still prosecuting two activists, Mark Iannicelli and Eric Brandt, for distributing jury nullification pamphlets near a courthouse. The official charge against Iannicelli and Brandt is jury tampering, but the Denver District Attorney's Office won't explain how their actions, which were not aimed at influencing the outcome of any particular case, qualified for that description, or how they differed from the peaceful pamphleting the city says "does not violate Colorado law." Now police are continuing to harass the very activists the city promised to leave alone, on the pretext of enforcing a vaguely worded prohibition. It seems Denver is willing to tolerate jury nullification activists in theory but not in practice.

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  1. If the judge holds the police chief in contempt, who will arrest him? The police?

    1. The bailiff?

    2. Should be the U.S. Marshals, if I’m not mistaken

      1. Thanks. It was an honest question. Being that the police are officers of the court, I was wondering who has the authority to use force on them when they go against the wishes of court that they serve.

        1. Yeah, basically what Mainer2 says below. It’s the Denver police (i.e., city or possibly state officials, depending on how Colorado works) defying a Federal judge’s order. Federal law enforcement will be the ones intervening if they continue to do so. I think, though I may be mistaken, that it’s the U.S. Marshal service (they tend to do security at Federal courthouses), and probably the National Guard if things escalate.

          1. the National Guard if things escalate

            Oh, please, please, please.

            I honestly believe a few armed confrontations between various tentacles of the government fighting over turf would be a good thing, in the long run.

            1. when elephants fight, the ground takes a beating.

      2. I don’t know either, but it’s a federal judge issuing the order and the municipal police force violating it. I would assume a federal judge has some resources to enforce his orders.

      3. Yep, and arresting that suck-wad will probably bring this stuff to a hard stop.

        1. Arresting the street thugs actually doing this will make it stop. Especially if the judge grows some balls and puts them in the hole for 90 days on bread and water.

    3. US Marshalls. They enforce federal court orders.

      1. So….Tommy Lee Jones ? That would be awesome.

        1. I wanna ten mile perimeter . . .

          1. “I didn’t kill my wife!”

            “I don’t care.”

            Not sure jury nullification would be okay with him.

        2. It would be justified ….

        3. Timothy Olyphant

      2. Of course no one picks Wesley Snipes, that BLACK US Marshall.

        Fucking racist teathuglihadist racisty racists. Fuckers.

        1. +1 drop zone

    4. The judge has made his ruling. Now let him enforce it.

      1. Jackson & Marshall sounds like a good name for a law firm.

  2. Well they should harass anyone who wants to nullify July… unless its really hot of course.

    Maybe Reason should try paying their interns to proof read copy?

    1. Nah, I am all for zorching July out of existence. Lets just have two Junes, eh?

      1. December. really cement the whole xmas in july thing, cept now it’ll still be in december, just, again.

  3. You have an absolute First Amendment right to distribute jury nullification literature near the court house.

    The Denver police have unfettered power to fuck with you, and fuck you up if you resist.


    1. Yet, there are still people, including some on this here tube, who think that the US is the standard bearer for individual liberty and free enterprise notwithstanding all of the facts that say otherwise.

  4. FYTW only applies to the proles. This police chief is pushing his luck citing it to a federal judge.

    Does anyone know what the culture and legal atmosphere in Denver was like before the fucking asshole progs fled CA and settled there? They took a giant shit on CA then left, looks like they are doing the same to CO now.

  5. Now we will see if the Federal Judge means business. If so, the police officers, violating his court order, will be slapped into Federal lockup for a few days. I am going to make the guess that Federal Marshals arresting the officers will bring this shit to a hard stop.

    1. You called down the thunder, well now you got it! You see that? It says United States Marshal!

    2. 90 days solitary on bread and water and enforced silence will cool their jets.

  6. We concede your activities are protected by the First Amendment. You’re under arrest, by the way. And we’re taking your shit.

  7. We concede your activities are protected by the First Amendment. You’re under arrest, by the way. And we’re taking your shit.

    1. You’re a towel!

  8. Man it’s simple with software to stop accidental posting. When receiving a post have the server check to to see if it has another post with identical content and refuse to post it or ask if they are sure. Also two postings from someone within seconds is about for sure a double post or spam.

    1. It’s also simple to have email subscriptions to threads. Even WordPress does that.

  9. These guys need to be up for a Medal of Freedom or something.

    They need a catchy name like, “The Freedom Riders”.

    1. I’m in a warcraft guild Freedom Riders, i never considered it a very catchy name though.

  10. you’re just publicizing their message for them you stupid chief

  11. The activists should only have on their person a handful of pamphlets and nothing else (no phone, no wallet, no handbag) at any time – nothing to confiscate. Just a strategy – just a thought.

    1. Yes, if you have only items you carry yourself, the police would be hard-pressed to find a broken law (although I’m sure they would try). Setting up shop with a shade shelter, table and chairs was pushing it, even though there is plenty of room for it.

      In our city we have a group picketing a pet store on a regular basis. The pet store owner has complained to the police numerous times, but the picketers are still allowed to do their thing. But if they set up a table I think the story would be different (although the sidewalk doesn’t have the space of the Denver plaza near the courthouse).

  12. Having carefully reviewed the injunction, we have found a way around it.

    Didn’t someone mention boomerang bullying yesterday?

    1. We must not allow bullying of boomerangs! Their Australian heritage is no reason that they should be shamed for their looks and actions! It’s inherent in their very being!

      They ARE boomerangs! Let them BE boomerangs! And proud of it!

  13. “Is that an encumbrance in your pocket, or are you just here to arrest me?”

  14. “the pamphleteers resisted the attempts by the police to steal their personal property.”

    They’re lucky they didn’t get shot. Especially given Denver PD’s tendency to shoot first and ask questions never.

    Lane writes. “The Denver police, acting as jack-booted thugs…

    Nice to see someone actually use the term “jack-booted thugs” to describe these assholes. Finally someone calls it like it is.

  15. Interesting how the subject of jury nullification literally scares to death police, prosecutors and judges.

    Scares them to death.

    THAT tells anyone all they need to know about the value of jury nullification to free, civilized people.

  16. Wasn’t someone arrested for distributing copies of the Thirteenth Amendment back when the Income Tax, Federal Reserve and National Prohibition were the exciting new things?

    1. Yup. That when some asshole named Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote his “shout fire in a crowded theater” screed.

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  18. Time for a Federal District Judge to throw a few local yocals (cops) in the slam for contempt.
    Perhaps that will get their attention.

  19. The article is absolutely wrong in one important fact. The protest is a deliberate attempt to get in front of jurors who are currently listening to the death penalty phase arguments in the trial of Dexter Lewis. This is not some generic protest. I don’t know whether the reporter knows this or is just repeating some dishonest whine of the activists (all three are names I’ve seen often

    Whether there is an alternative way of keeping the jury sequestered or having them go in through a different door into the courthouse – I don’t know. But failure to mention the real reason for the protest here makes me wonder what else is the story lying about?

  20. Given that the police NEVER do anything the least little bit out of line, how can you all cast the aspersions one finds in the article, or do find things where there is “nothing to see”? Off hand, I would say that not enough of The Body Politic are aware of the concept of Jury Nullification, just like not enough of the populace are aware of the scam of Civil Asset Forfeiture, aka Theft Under Color of Law, as I tend to describe it, and the extent to which it is carried on, right in their own home towns, not to mention elsewhere, at several levels of “Law Enforcement”, and or “Government”.

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