• On June 24, 1996, while the press was presenting today's version of the Roman "bread and circuses" (the Olympic games in Atlanta), the United States Supreme Court quietly voted 7 to 2 to limit our Sixth Amendment's guarantee to trial by jury.

    In Lewis v. United States, 95-6465, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, writing for the majority of the Court said:

    "...We conclude that no jury trial right exists where a defendant is prosecuted for multiple petty offenses. The Sixth Amendment's guarantee of the right to a jury trial does not extend to petty offenses, and its scope does not change where a defendant faces a potential aggregate prison term in excess of six months for petty offenses."

    Just as in Indiana's constitutional provision for jury nullification, the Sixth Article of Amendment to the United States Constitution refers to "all criminal" cases, not some criminal cases. Likewise, the courts of Indiana routinely water down and in many cases blatantly contravene the charter of its existence and bar defense lawyers from instructing the jury on their right to nullify the law. Now the U. S. Supreme Court has made "...the most serious incursions on the right to jury trial in the Court's history, and it cannot be squared with our precedents." (Justice Kennedy writing for the minority of the Court)

    Over-zealous prosecutors will now have a field day prosecuting stacking misdemeanor charges against defendants everywhere just as they have done for decades with felony charges in the commonly used ploy of "charge bargaining" whereby the defendant is cowered into plea bargaining by the sheer magnitude of multiple penalties for a single act. Furthermore, politically-motivated judges who, after all, are paid and appointed by politicians are NOT impartial and are not free to rule against bad law as juries traditionally are free to, and have been doing for generations.

    The Supreme Court has rewritten the Constitution to suit the political ends of the White House. Welcome to Orwell's 1984.

    >Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Proponents of "jury nullification" -- the idea that jurors should disregard the law and even evidence to reach a verdict they deem just -- lost a Supreme Court appeal Monday in their skirmish with San Diego courts.
    Placing the integrity of the jury system above unfettered free speech, the justices, without comment, refused to let California members of the Fully Informed Jury Association distribute jury-nullification literature within 150 feet of any San Diego County courthouse. A county court barred such distribution.
    The justices also let stand a county court's order that removed all newsracks from a sidewalk in front of a courthouse. The association had sought to distribute its literature from such a newsbox. The group's appeal had argued that both orders violated its free-speech rights.
    The orders were issued in late 1993 and early 1994 after Jim Harnsberger, Dave Cadway and other jury-nullification proponents had run-ins with county authorities over their efforts to distribute their group's leaflets.
    At the time, the group was not involved in any litigation and its literature was not aimed at any specific court case. Harnsberger, Cadway and their group sued the county in federal court, seeking a temporary restraining order to block enforcement of the two challenged orders.
    A federal trial judge ruled for the county, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling last year.
    The appeals court called the order creating the 150-foot buffer zone "necessary to serve the state's compelling interest in protecting the integrity of the jury system."
    The appeals court said the ban on newsracks just outside the San Diego County Courthouse's front doors "is narrowly tailored to further the significant state interest in securing the area around the courthouse and leaves open ample alternative channels for communication of the information."
    The case is Fully Informed Jury Association vs. San Diego County, 95-1896.

    Rocky Mountain News
    Wednesday, October 9, 1996
    Commentary Section (p. 43A)

    Hold-out jurors face court's wrath
    by Peter Blake
    [Columnist, Colorado politics]

    A group of 30 Colorado judges, lawyers, clerks and former jurors are about to issue a report on how the court system can treat jurors better and waste less of their time.

    But all their good work could be undone by an ongoing contempt-of-court trial in Gilpin County. Juror Laura Kriho of Nederland faces up to six months in prison for, at bottom, holding out and producing a mistrial in a drug-possession case.

    If hold-out jurors are to be prosecuted, no amount of minor reforms to speed up the process are going to help the system.

    Holding out, of course, isn't the technical charge against Kriho. Specifically, she's accused of failing to disclose a 12- year-old drug prosecution (she had pleaded guilty to possession and was given a deferred judgment) when she was called as juror last May in another drug possession case.

    But had Kriho gone along with the other 11 jurors and voted to convict, the contempt proceeding would never have been brought - no matter what she might have failed to say. The judge wouldn't have cared.

    "The court is trying to intimidate anybody with an independent mind" complains Paul Grant, Kriho's defense attorney.

    The prosecution of Kriho "sends a message to all jurors that their deliberations are not secret, that they are not entitled to vote their conscience," wrote Grant in his brief. "Any juror who holds out can be brought before the judge and criminally prosecuted for disobeying instructions."

    Kriho is not, it is important to note, being charged with perjury. That's a felony and would have entitled her to a jury trial of her own, which the prosecution wanted to avoid. Contempt is more certain, since it's a trial before a judge only, with maximum punishment of six months in jail.

    There's little doubt that Kriho also violated a warning from the prosecutor that "it is outside the jury's dominion to question the law."

    It is? Doesn't it depend on the law? Thank goodness jurors ignored that dictum during the first half of the 19th century when faced with trials brought under the infamous Fugitive Slave Acts. And in 1670, some courageous London jurors refused to convict William Penn of inciting to riot, thereby getting jail time from an angry trial judge. The reversal of their convictions on appeal established the now endangered principle of jury independence.

    According to Grant, there's plenty of case law noting that a judge's instructions are guidelines, not gospel, and violating them isn't prosecutable.

    There's evidence - thanks to the dubious interrogation of her fellow jurors - that Kriho wasn't a silent holdout. She told them they had the right to nullify laws they didn't like and even looked up (again, contrary to instructions) the possible penalties in the case. Jurors are supposed to remain virginally innocent of such knowledge, no matter how much they may worry about the consequences of their decision.

    By the way, the problem might have been avoided if the trial judge and prosecutors had done more careful voir dire, or if the hair-triggered hadn't been so quick to declare a mistrial.

    Good luck to Kriho. She'll need it. No one would confuse her with William Penn, and the court system prefers jurors who don't challenge authority. At least we know that if she loses, her case will go as high as the appeals courts will take it.

    Meanwhile, if you're a hold-out juror in Gilpin County, try hard to bring at least a few other jurors with you or you'll hang alone.

    Rocky Mountain News 400 W. Colfax Denver, CO 80204
    Phone: (303) 892-5000 Fax: (303) 892-5499
    Email: letters@denver-rmn.com


    October 3, 1996
    The Colorado Legal Eagles
    PO Box 506
    Nederland, CO 80466

    PURPOSE: Press release

    The Colorado Legal Eagles are advising citizens of Gilpin County of a serious threat to the judicial system in their County. Further, the Eagles are advising that all those called for jury duty, in the coming months to seek legal counsel before any statements to the court, it's officers, or the prosecution. You may be prosecuted for, improper verdict, deliberation, or views of the evidence presented in that court.

    It is widely believed by legal experts that the circumstances leading to this alert will be overturned at higher court. However, these appeals procedures may take one to two years. Until such time, citizens should be aware of their legal rights. Those not aware of these rights should seek a court appointed attorney, before any questioning, at the beginning of the jury selection process. YOU WILL NOT BE ADVISED THAT ANYTHING YOU SAY, CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU, THOUGH THIS COULD VERY WELL BE THE CASE.

    The most glaring recent example, was heard Oct. 1, 1996, State of Colorado vs. Kriho. In this case the court and prosecution have seemingly merged to become the same legal entity. Even the most common motions normally granted are tersely denied. The vindictive nature of the Gilpin County Judge is apparent. When an officer of the court, (Ms. Kriho's attorney) tells the court the defense needs an extension of time, (it's first such motion in the case) and unprepared for trial at this time and the court ignores and denies this motion, leaves little doubt this court will reach a verdict of guilty. This activity is so egregious, attorney Paul Grant appealed the decision, under emergency provisions, to the Colorado Supreme Court.

    The court has ruled on a whole gamut of motions against the defendant, all by design within the judicial hallowed halls of Gilpin County, in-concert with prosecution, as a tactic to bring errant jurors into line. The errant juror, Ms. Kriho in this case, voted not guilty, in a possession case. Before the verdict was officially rendered, the judge and co-author of the tactic, declared a mistrial, to allow for the outrageous spectacle of jurors called to witness against other jurors, judges and prosecutors as witnesses, in a circus of what only can be described as judicial carnage.

    We, do have great faith that the higher courts will not tolerate this type of malicious prosecution. However until this situation is fully heard and rectified, Gilpin County citizens should be aware, the time honored tradition of service through jury duty has been rendered.

    Joseph Vigorito
    The Colorado Legal Eagles
    (303) 258-3990

    Date: Sat, 7 Dec 1996 10:48:54 -0700 (MST)
    From: Jury Rights Project 
    Subject: Juror on Trial - Media Bypass Article (12/96)
    To: jrights@darkstar.cygnus.com
    	  ******************The Jury on Trial*******************
    			  Media Bypass Magazine
    	     	     "The Uncensored National News"
    Cover Story
    December 1996
    Feedback: ceo@4bypass.com
    by Suzanne Shell
    Copyright 1996 Suzanne Shell
    All Rights Reserved
    Email: dsshell@ix.netcom.com
    In the mountains west of Denver, Colorado, amid the changing aspens that
    glitter like gold nuggets among the pine trees, there is a new brand of
    frontier justice being practiced. A vigilante justice perpetrated by the
    court, where the accused is deprived of a jury trial, and lawless men become
    judge, jury, and executioner.  On trial; the jury as our founding fathers
    envisioned it. 
    	Behind the modern stone facade of the Gilpin County courthouse, Laura Kriho
    stands accused of contempt of court for her actions as a juror. Kriho was
    the solitary holdout against a conviction on a drug case, and based on the
    case presented by the prosecution, has been singled out for prosecution as a
    direct result of her vote during jury deliberations. 
    	Her crime? Laura Kriho obeyed the law and appeared for jury duty as ordered
    and honestly answered all the questions she was asked during the voir dire
    process prior to being selected as a juror. She brought with her into the
    jury deliberation room her life experience and her knowledge and did not
    check her conscience at the door as the judge instructed her to do. For this
    alleged act of jury nullification, she has been tried without a jury.  With
    the judge's verdict, some legal eagles say,  goes the jury system in this
    	The tangled web that has entrapped Kriho appears to have its origins in an
    article published in the Summer 1996 issue of The Judges' Journal by another
    Gilpin County judge, Frederic B. Rodgers. The article is entitled "The Jury
    in Revolt? A 'Heads up' on the Fully Informed Jury Association Coming Soon
    to a Courthouse in Your Area." In this article he describes the juror
    nullification movement as having "as it's basic theme that all laws and
    government, including courts, are illegal - and that we should all make
    decisions based on whatever feels right to us . . . "
    	He goes on to discuss the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA), stating
    "FIJA supports the de facto power of juries to refuse to convict, even when
    the government proves its case beyond a reasonable doubt . . .  FIJA
    members, who hide their affinity for it during the voir dire, have a great
    potential for causing mischief. They are arguably committing perjury when
    during voir dire they fail truthfully to answer the judge's questions that
    address their willingness to follow the rules of law contained in the jury
    instructions. The first hint of trouble will usually come in the form of
    notes from the jury deliberation room that ask questions about how to deal
    with an 'obstructionist' juror."  Rodgers instructs judges to "be vigilant
    during voir dire to ascertain this influence. If nullification is discussed
    by a jury panelist during voir dire, a judge's delicacy and care are required."
    	When a judge encounters a juror with "nullification tendencies," Rodgers
    suggests removing this juror to an "individualized voir dire setting." He
    states that "if others have been infected by the (jury nullification)
    disclosure, they should be interviewed individually, outside the presence of
    other panelists." He also offers a stern admonishment to present to the jury
    panelists, "Violating the jury oath may subject you to prosecution for perjury."
    	Perjury is difficult to prove under the best of circumstances, hence the
    reduction of charges against Kriho  to criminal contempt of court. It is
    obvious that with a conviction on this lesser charge, the prosecution hopes
    to create a precedent in this area of law. Once case law is established
    against jury nullification, the threat of criminal prosecution will insure
    effective control over each and every jury member in each and every
    courtroom in America. In the absence of any legislation to support their
    position, Gilpin County court is trying to make jury nullification a crime
    by legislating from the bench. Their problem is, they picked the wrong juror
    to make an example out of. Laura Kriho is an activist, with a large, loyal
    following. She is fighting for her rights and the rights of every juror in
    America. And much to the surprise of Judge Nieto, she has garnered
    nationwide media attention. This may be her only hope of salvation against a
    corrupt judicial system.
    	There have been few, if any, cases where a juror has been actually
    prosecuted for their actions during deliberations. The most notable was
    during the trial of William Penn in 1670, where four jurors endured nine
    weeks of prison and torture for adhering to their "not guilty" votes. They
    ultimately won Penn's acquittal and nullified the law prohibiting the
    preaching of any religion except that of the Church of England. 
    	During her testimony Kriho said she believed that the "jury room is
    confidential, privileged, secret." Her attorney, Paul Grant, argued that
    "Deliberations simply cannot be subjected to this kind of scrutiny." 
    	In a 1995 case similar to the Kriho case, which also ended in a mistrial,
    Hawaii Judge Helen Gillmore did not seek to prosecute a juror who looked up
    information from the Bill of Rights during jury deliberation. She was
    concerned about picking a new jury if the public fears jurors will be
    pressured. Judge Gilmore was quoted in the December 27, 1995 issue of the
    Honolulu Star-Bulletin as saying, "The privacy interest of jurors is
    paramount." This may be still be so in Hawaii, but it's not so in Gilpin
    County, Colorado.
    	In an unprecedented move, Gilpin County has broken down the doors of the
    jury deliberation room and many of the jurors who served with Kriho were
    subpoenaed to testify about their deliberations. Grant claims, "This is
    really an obnoxious process. In a sense, we're putting the jury on trial.
    We're forcing open the jury room and we're forcing these people to testify
    about their deliberations, and that's improper. It hasn't been done, it is
    routinely never done, it can't be done to attack a verdict. It can only be
    done to attack a juror."
    	Laura Kriho was called to jury duty on May 13, 1996, and was seated as a
    juror in the case of a 19-year-old female accused of felony possession of
    methamphetamine. The prosecutor in this case was Jim Stanley. After two days
    of evidence, the jury was sent to the jury room to render a verdict. 
    	After a mere four hours of deliberation, the jury remained hung on the
    count of possession. The other jurors had grown increasingly angry and
    abusive toward Kriho. About this time, according to testimony,  a single
    juror, possibly without the knowledge of the other jurors, sent a note to
    the judge asking if a juror could be disqualified for looking up the
    sentence related to the case among other things. This note was not signed.
    	When Judge Kenneth Barnhill received this note, he showed it to the
    attorneys. After a brief discussion, Barnhill declared a mistrial. 
    	Only after declaring a mistrial, did Barnhill call the jury into the
    courtroom and admonish them. He never questioned them, or investigated the
    circumstances behind the note. Then he dismissed the jury.
    	Kriho said she went up to Barnhill and told him that the note came from
    just one juror and that some of the information in the note was untrue.
    Barnhill allegedly expressed surprise that it was not from the entire jury.
    Then Kriho said she thought she was supposed to use her prior knowledge and
    experience to judge the case, which Barnhill agreed with. Kriho asked him
    what if knowledge of the sentence is part of that knowledge. Kriho said at
    that point, Barnhill left the bench without answering.
    	Kriho left the courthouse and found the one juror she felt was sympathetic
    with what she said in the jury room and gave him a pamphlet from FIJA. This
    juror became angry and immediately took this pamphlet to the judge, saying,
    "This is why we had a hung jury. (This) seemed to be a program set up [sic].
    We had a hung jury before the jury was ever selected."  He testified for the
    prosecution that Kriho was part of  "a preplanned program to hang the jury,"
    believing there was an "agenda to get several people planted in the jury
    pool designed to hang the jury."
    	Barnhill gave the pamphlet to Stanley and told him to look into this. On
    July 19, Kriho was cited with contempt of court.
    	Gilpin County Deputy District Attorney Jim Stanley,  cites three counts of
    contempt against Kriho. First, Stanley accuses Kriho of committing perjury
    by lying under oath to the Judge and the attorneys; specifically "lying in
    open court (regarding) her views about drug laws," of lying about her
    "willingness to follow the law" as given to the jury by the judge, and of
    lying about her "prior experience in the justice system." 
    	Stanley claims that Kriho "failed to disclose" this information during voir
    dire. After the mistrial was declared, Kriho's background was investigated.
    This investigation turned up a 1984 drug conviction which Kriho had been
    told would be purged from her record upon the successful completion of  two
    years of community service. She believed it would be as if it had never
    occurred. Obviously, she was lied to. She acted on good faith.  The
    government didn't. But even if she didn't, according to the transcripts of
    her voir dire, she was never directly asked about having a drug conviction,
    about her views on the drug laws, or about whether or not she was willing to
    follow the law as given to her by the judge. It seems that Laura Kriho has
    been prosecuted for not volunteering any information. The defense argued
    that the court did not ask for a narrative, it asked questions.  "Jurors
    don't see these questions the same way the court sees these questions,"
    argued Grant.
    	What really happened is that the presiding judge, Kenneth Barnhill, and
    Deputy DA Stanley got sloppy during the questioning of prospective jurors,
    and didn't follow up on important issues. Rather than admit their mistake,
    they decided to punish Kriho for their failure to question her properly to
    elicit the answers they required.
    	The second offense includes her "flagrant disobedience of direct orders
    from the presiding judge" in that she allegedly gathered her own data and
    researched the possible penalties of the crime being tried. 
    	This charge refers to the instructions that a judge gives to the jury
    before they retire to deliberate. These instructions often include items
    such as:
     	The jury is not to consider the potential punishment as a factor in
    deciding the case. 
     	The jury is to decide the case based only on the facts presented during
    the trial, and not to allow any outside factors influence their decision.
     	The jury is to only follow the law as it is given to them by the judge.
     	The jury is not to discuss the case outside the deliberation room, nor
    conduct any research in regards to the case being tried.
    This is just a small sample of the types of instructions given to any jury.
    The key here is that these are instructions, not orders. If they are meant
    to be orders, they should be clearly presented as orders, but they aren't.
    Jury instructions, when blindly followed by ignorant jurors, give the judge
    an enormous amount of control over the verdict in a case. But instructions
    cannot be construed to have the same force of law that an order from the
    judge has. An order cannot be disobeyed without risking contempt of court
    charges. A jury instruction is guidance, and can be lawfully disobeyed by a
    knowledgeable juror with a conscience. There is no law to state differently.
    	Kriho allegedly disobeyed an instruction by looking up on the Internet, the
    possible punishment for the case being tried. She testified that she had
    prior knowledge of this punishment, that she just wanted to verify her
    knowledge. Whether she had prior knowledge or not, she allegedly disobeyed
    an instruction, not an order from the court. The defense argued that if jury
    instructions are an order, then it would be controlling a person's thoughts,
    and the court cannot order a person how to think.
    	Finally, Kriho is accused of obstructing the administration of justice by
    "furthering her own agenda" in that she "obstructed the trial process and
    the jury process by integrating her beliefs into the jury (process)." 
    	Obviously, this charge is related to her holdout vote of not guilty against
    the other jurors on one of the three counts being deliberated. Kriho claims
    she had a reasonable doubt, and testified that she demonstrated the reasons
    for her doubt during deliberations. Two jury members offered to swap their
    guilty votes on another count for Kriho's guilty vote on the possession
    count. Kriho declined, standing on her conscience. 
    	There are many disturbing circumstances surrounding Kriho's trial. There
    was only the barest suggestion of fairness demonstrated by the presiding
    judge. Judge Henry Nieto presided over this kangaroo court with a bias
    against Kriho that was blatantly obvious. 
    	It also appears highly irregular and inappropriate that the prosector for
    each trial is Jim Stanley, especially since Stanley could realistically be
    considered a witness in the Kriho trial. At the very least, this trial had
    all the appearances of being a vindictive prosecution and an abuse of power.
    Many people believe that Kriho cost Stanley a conviction on the drug case,
    so Stanley is prosecuting Kriho to get even. Stanley should have been
    dismissed by Nieto, but he wasn't.
    	Kriho has been denied her Sixth amendment right to a trial by jury by Judge
    Nieto. Under Colorado Statute, if the jail sentence is six months or less,
    the court does not have to allow a jury trial. Stanley decided to seek a
    sentence of less than six months at the last minute. This ruling conflicts
    with the Sixth amendment which guarantees a trial by impartial jury  "in all
    criminal prosecutions." Since the rights of the  jury was obviously on
    trial, the court could not hope for a conviction if a jury were to render a
    verdict on this case. 
    	She was also denied her Sixth amendment right to confront her accuser and
    subpoena witnesses. In this case, Judge Nieto ruled that Judge Barnhill
    cannot be compelled to testify regarding his part in this incident. Nieto
    claimed that Barnhill was not the accuser, that the prosecution is, and that
    everything involving Barnhill which pertains to this case is a matter of
    record and the record could be admitted into evidence. However, testimony
    later revealed that an important exchange took place outside the courtroom
    between Barnhill, Stanley and the defense attorney. Another one took place
    after the mistrial was declared and the jury was dismissed, once again
    involving Barnhill and Stanley. Stanley also had contact with the other
    jurors during the course of his investigation of Kriho. These events are not
    part of any public record or transcript. Since the only witnesses to these
    events have been protected by the court from testifying, this important
    evidence, which could help the defense, has been excluded during Kriho's trial.
    	On October 1, 1996, the stage was set. Court TV had cameras in the hallway,
    but not the courtroom. Not surprisingly, Judge Nieto denied virtually all
    requests for expanded media coverage, stating that the requests were not
    timely. No audio recording was allowed, and only one still camera without a
    flash was permitted.  
    	The small courtroom was packed with Kriho supporters, a motley assortment
    of Generation Xers sporting shaggy hair, sandals, and tie-dyed shirts
    mingled with middle aged "suits" and casual clad baby boomers. Copies of The
    Pikes Peak Hemp Coalition Newsletter were circulated freely along with FIJA
    pamphlets and literature from the Green party. Conspicuous by their absence
    in such a landmark case was the major media. Only a handful of the observers
    sported press badges or identified them as journalists.  
    	As the two-day trial progressed, the dynamics in the courtroom were fraught
    with tension and emotional electricity. At one point, Stanley directed a
    scathing remark to Grant when he, with futility, objected yet again to
    Stanley's asking leading questions. Only after an embarrassing long pause
    did Judge Nieto admonish Stanley to address his remarks to the bench. Behind
    Stanley's back, the audience responded audibly to the patently biased
    rulings by the judge, and to the arrogant attacks by the prosecutor. Stanley
    reportedly complained about the hostile audience behind him, some of whom he
    claimed were calling him names and rolling their eyes at him, and asked the
    judge to clear the courtroom. Nieto refused. 
    	On another occasion, Stanley attempted to have a defense witness's
    testimony about the witness' own conversations excluded, claiming it was
    heresay. Grant responded audibly to this inane objection in much the same
    manner as the audience. Stanley glared down at Grant, and Grant placidly
    smiled up in return. The two men maintained eye contact, Stanley hostile and
    Grant smiling smugly, until Stanley finally looked away, his face red with
    ill-concealed rage. On the whole, Stanley's performance, was unprofessional,
    vindictive, and ineffectual. It lacked substance and the authority of law.
    Whether it was good enough for to Nieto to convict Kriho remains to be seen.
    	Nieto has not ruled on the case as of this writing. Perhaps he is waiting
    for the glare of the media to fade. Who knows? After Nieto declared the
    court in recess until his ruling in no less than a week, the observers in
    the courtroom broke into a spontaneous standing ovation for Paul Grant's
    valiant defense of Laura Kriho and for his passionate closing arguments.
    Stanley was visibly perturbed and left the courtroom hastily.
    	The real intent behind this trial was revealed in the closing arguments.
    What was on trial is whether the jury has the right to nullify. Stanley
    acknowledged that the jury is the foundation of the trial process and stated
    that "Kriho's conduct presents a threat to the foundation of our judicial
    system." He insisted that Kriho practiced a deception which cannot be
    tolerated, the basis of which is "the belief that the juror does not have to
    follow the law if they think it is wrong." He said, "She had an agenda to
    act on her firm beliefs that drug laws in this country are wrong and to
    change (those) laws. It is offensive to everything that the court system
    stands for." Stanley stated that if the court had known of her views, she
    would have been excused from jury duty.
    	It is clear from these statements that our courts in America want nothing
    to do with a fully informed juror. They want to people the jury box with
    sheeple, who will blindly follow the court's instructions without qualm or
    conscience. Such jurors would be unqualified to recognize a defendant being
    railroaded under bad laws and the pretense of fairness. In their ignorance,
    these jurors would contribute proudly to the miscarriage of justice.
    	In the process known as "scientific jury selection," defense attorneys
    attempt to pack the jury box with people of little education and much human
    emotion. Prosecutors want people who hold the law to be sacred, and who
    don't question governmental authority. Education is not necessarily
    desirable. Juror questionnaires are being used in many areas to preselect a
    jury pool by weeding out undesirables such as FIJA advocates and religious
    people. Some of these questionnaires number in the hundreds of questions on
    items such as education, residence, employment, family, previous legal or
    courtroom experience, media preferences and more. These questionnaires far
    exceed the few stated requirements for jury duty, and actually invade the
    privacy of prospective jurors. If Kriho is convicted and the conviction is
    upheld, there is the real potential of these questionnaires being used as
    evidence to prosecute nonconformist jurors.
    	The pre-screening of jurors and jury pools has been likened by some with
    jury tampering. A jury is often instructed to bring their life experiences
    and knowledge into the deliberation room, but the courts are striving to
    keep certain types of knowledge and experience out of the jury; knowledge
    and experience that would overrule the self-assumed absolute authority of
    the judge. This includes any knowledge of the constitution and the original
    intent of our founding fathers in designing the jury system as a shield
    against government oppression.
    	There is an invisible victim directly affected by this case. The accused.
    There can be no assurance of a fair and impartial trial from jurors who face
    prosecution for their vote or for their beliefs. If a bad law cannot be
    nullified, good people can be indiscriminately criminalized and punished.
    Despite the wishes of  today's judiciary, the jury was not intended to be a
    rubber stamp.
    	Grant claims that this trial is designed to eliminate hung juries. "This
    sends a message that you'd better go along with the majority or you can be
    criminally prosecuted for hidden biases," said Grant.
    	According to Bill Orr, executive director of the American Constitutional
    Law Foundation, "I think, quite frankly, the reason this case is being
    brought is because the judiciary is looking for a way to prevent jury
    nullification in drug cases. And this is the one." This is only the
    beginning. If it works for drug cases, it will work for any other case. 
    	According to Grant's closing argument, there are two important decision
    makers in the courtroom, the judge and the jury. Each is indispensable. But
    the purpose of the jury is not to do the dictates of the prosecution or the
    court. There are laws that protect jurors from intimidation, threats and
    harassment. Grant observed that "Juries every day fail to comply 100% with
    (the court's) instructions."
    	When these instructions are contradictory, as they often are, how can a
    juror comply 100%? How can he comply when they are unconstitutional without
    violating his juror's oath?
    If Kriho is convicted for her noncompliance, every juror in America will be
    at risk of prosecution if they vote contrary to what the court thinks they
    should vote or are a holdout in the jury room. Is this not intimidation,
    threat and harassment under the color of law?
    	Grant thinks this case is a declaration that jury nullification is
    unacceptable. He said, "We have to resolve it, we have to tell the judges
    they don't run the show."
    	There is a common saying that we Americans have the ballot box, the jury
    box, and the cartridge box, in that order. There is overwhelming evidence
    that the ballot box has been compromised. A conviction in this case could
    virtually eliminate the recourse we have through the jury box. Judge Nieto
    must weigh very carefully, the consequences of his verdict. If We the People
    lose the power of the jury box, that only leaves the cartridge box, and
    Judge Henry Nieto may very well be recorded in infamy as the Benedict Arnold
    of the second American Revolution.
    Suzanne Shell is the author of  Profane Justice: A Comprehensive Guide to
    Asserting Your Parental Rights, which deals with preventing false
    allegations of child abuse and how to fight false allegations and win.  She
    can be contacted at 14053 Eastonville Road, Elbert, CO 80106. Her e-mail
    address is dsshell@ix.netcom.com.   
    	The icon of the fully informed jury movement is an accidental heroine.
    Laura Kriho was not a member of FIJA, and claims to have had no contact with
    FIJA prior to her service as a juror. She simply voted her conscience in the
    wrong place at the wrong time. 
    	Laura reported reluctantly, as do most who are summoned, for jury duty. She
    never imagined she could be prosecuted for her vote as a juror. She didn't
    want to be a juror and admits she wants it "even less so now." She believes
    that if she was risking prosection based on her answers during voir dire or
    for her jury vote, she should have been advised of her rights prior to
    questioning and of the potential of being prosecuted, and she should have
    been provided with a court-appointed attorney. Based on the rulings of Nieto
    during pre-trial hearings and the trial itself, she believed she was facing
    a sure conviction. Kriho emphasized her opinion with the statement, "Why do
    you think Stanley's not objecting to anything my lawyer says? He knows what
    the outcome is gonna be."
    	One of Laura's supporters describes her as "a totally classy chick with
    unlimited influence in the Colorado hemp scene." Laura is a vocal supporter
    of the legalization of industrial hemp and spoke knowledgeably about the
    differences between industrial hemp and marijuana. As for her views on the
    drug laws, testimony revealed that she believes the courts are an
    inappropriate place to deal with drug problems, that the family and
    community could better deal with this issue. 
    	Laura claims she had no agenda in serving as a juror. She felt she could
    sit as a fair and impartial juror, and did her best to do what she was told.
    In spite of the hostile abuse she endured at the hands of the other jurors,
    she stuck by her conviction that the prosection had not proved its case. 
    	During deliberations, she made mention about the rights of jurors, which
    she had learned from a pamphlet. Laura testified that she didn't remember
    where or when she got the pamphlet. But the information contained in the
    pamphlet had impressed her. She reread it after the first day of the drug
    trial to "help her understand her role and perform her service better." Her
    attorney, Paul Grant said, "Laura . . . had the misfortune of being the
    single juror who did (jury nullification). Had she had the entire jury go
    with her, disregard the instruction, and acquit the defendant, they couldn't
    have touched her. But they wanted to interrupt the trial and punish her
    because she was the single dissident on the jury panel."
    	While Judge Nieto kept insisting that Laura was not being tried for her
    vote as a juror or for her beliefs, Laura testified, "If I had voted guilty,
    I would not be sitting here now."  She feels she could have said whatever
    she wanted in the jury room, but if she had voted guilty, she would never
    have been charged with contempt. "Now all jurors are going to be afraid to
    serve on jury duty," Laura commented, "I hope that no other juror has to go
    through this again because it was a very painful experience."
    The juror who turned Kriho's FIJA pamphlet over to Judge Barnhill was
    interviewed briefly after his testimony against her. When he was asked how
    would Kriho's conviction affect him if he had to serve on a jury in the
    future, he replied, "I have no problem with serving as a juror anywhere."
    	This juror had testified that he felt there were appropriate situations
    where a juror could in fact judge the law as well as the evidence. When
    asked: If Kriho were convicted, would that conviction affect his ability to
    vote to nullify the law, he said, "If they ask me again, and I'm sure that
    they would, could I judge the case according to the evidence, and not judge
    the law, and it was a law that I knew that I would have problem with, I
    would have to excuse myself."
    	So where does that fit in with the jury being able to judge the law? "I
    don't know," he replied. 
    	If Laura Kriho is convicted, she only gets one mandatory appeal, according
    to the rules governing contempt charges in Colorado. The Colorado Supreme
    court is not required to hear her case if she loses on appeal. In that event
    the precedent is established which would then be used across the country
    against any other juror. This would make jury duty in America a risky
    	 It would also effectively keep any knowledgeable juror from serving, and
    give the courts absolute power over the verdicts juries render. Defendants
    would not receive an impartial jury, and trials will be a mockery of
    justice. The constitution would be effectively nullified.
    	If, however, every potential juror were to demand an attorney before they
    respond to any questions during voir dire, the court system would only be
    suffering the natural consequences of its arrogant foolishness. Can you
    imagine a court system operating if it cannot get jurors willing to risk
    their freedom over jury duty? Without at least the appearance of a jury, a
    defendant cannot be tried. It would take only one juror in a pool of jurors
    to expose the risk. When asked as a group if they had any reason why they
    couldn't serve, a juror could say he isn't willing to risk being prosecuted
    like Laura Kriho was for her jury vote and her personal opinions. This would
    have the effect of informing the other candidates in the jury pool of the
    potential risks involved, and getting many of them to request being excused.
    The entire jury pool would be "tainted," and the court would have to start over.
    	If Kriho is convicted for failing to comply with jury instructions, because
    Nieto would have construed jury instructions to be orders, a juror could
    read the instructions carefully prior to the actual deliberation process.
    Finding contradictions, a juror could ask to be excused because he would be
    unable to comply with the instructions and was unwilling to risk prosecution
    for noncompliance. Since these instructions are given after the testimony is
    complete, if enough jurors claimed they were unwilling to risk prosecution
    for noncompliance, the case would have to be retried. Do this enough and
    jurors could jam up the court system completely. 
    **************************END OF ARTICLE******************************
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    	 Donations to support Laura's defense can be made to:
    	      -- Laura Kriho Legal Defense Fund --
    	       c/o Paul Grant (defense attorney)
    	          Box 1272, Parker, CO 80134
                     Email: pkgrant@ix.netcom.com
    		     Phone: (303) 841-9649

    Liberty's Educational Advocacy Forum, Indiana's Fully Informed Jury Association, Inc.