Plaintiffs in Denver jury-nullification case wrongly criticized
“Courthouse protesters vulgar, despite their attorney’s claim,” Aug. 1 letter to the editor.
Letter-writer Katherine MacKenzie (as Judge William Martinez did) wrongly conflates the plaintiffs of the lawsuit with every person present at the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse. The plaintiffs are two specific individuals — Eric Verlo and Janet Matzen — and the Fully Informed Jury Association. I testified that FIJA specifically instructs juror-rights educators to conduct themselves with the utmost courtesy and professionalism. That is crucial to advancing our mission. I recall no mention of that in the ruling. Instead, Judge Martinez excoriated the plaintiffs for behavior of others over whom we have no legal authority.
Meanwhile, I recall no such tongue-lashing for Denver law enforcement who do have that authority but who apparently refused to handle the situation in virtually any way except to make two illegal arrests for entirely peaceful behavior. Our Constitution is supposed to protect individual rights. Collectively punishing everyone for other people’s behavior runs entirely counter to our Bill of Rights.
Helena, Mont. The writer is executive director of the Fully Informed Jury Association. Send letters of 150 words or fewer to firstname.lastname@example.org or 101 W. Colfax Ave., Suite 800, Denver, CO, 80202. Please include full name, city and phone number. Contact information is for our purposes only; we will not share it with anyone else. You can reach us by telephone at 303-954-1331.