Plain­tiffs in Den­ver jury-nul­li­fi­ca­tion case wrongly crit­i­cized

The Denver Post - - OPINION - Re: Kirsten C. Ty­nan,

“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 open­fo­rum@den­ver­ 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.

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