All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


Jury Service

When I turned 18 there were some civic responsibilities I was aware of, and even looked forward to doing.  I registered for the draft.  I registered to vote.  I knew I became eligible to serve on a Jury.   I have never been drafted (they didn't even let me enlist).  I've voted several times (for all the good its done).  I never served on a Jury.

In 25 years my name has only ever came up for jury duty 1 time.  That time I was excused from serving because, wait for it, child care.  As weird as it may seem, I've always considered serving on a jury as something I should do.  I've even looked forward to doing it.  I've never been able to do it.

I guess back when I was learning about such things, I learned about jury nullification.  I don't ever remember specifically learning about it.  The concept seems to be one of those things that has been rattling around in my head for so long that its almost like its always been there.

Which is why this story caught my attention:

Man Arrested, Charged With Multiple Felonies
Denver, CO — Last week, a Denver man was arrested and charged with multiple felonies, but not for stealing, committing fraud, or engaging in violent crime. He was targeted for attempting to educate jurors about their rights in the courtroom.
Mark Ianicelli, 56, set up a table outside of Lindsay-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver in order to educate jurors about jury nullification. Jury nullification is the process by which members of juries can nullify unjust laws by finding defendants charged with them not guilty.
Ianicelli is charged with tampering with a jury, a felony in Colorado that carries a minimum bond of $5,000. He was charged by the Denver District Attorney for seven counts of tampering, and has since bailed out of jail. Ianicelli was in the second day of a planned three-day outreach to educate jurors entering the courtroom about the power of jury nullification. He was handing out fliers when he was arrested. His goal was to inform potential jurors about a vital, centuries-old function of juries.
I'm not really sure how they're going to convict him for jury tampering when he didn't try to actually change the out come of a specific trial.  No doubt their going to have a go at it anyway.  I read the DA's press release and the indictment charges.  Mr. Ianicelli handed out pamphlets of a general educational nature to anyone who wanted one.  Seven of the people he handed pamphlets to happened to be selected for the jury pool.  BTW being in the pool doesn't mean they are actually serving on a jury, it just means they are eligible to be called to serve on case should the court require them to do so.

How insecure about their abilities as prosecutors are Denver DA's?

Hopefully Mr. Ianicelli will get a jury of 12 people who had a chance to read his pamphlet.  Even if they didn't, how is a prosecutor going to try the case without the pamphlet becoming evidence and the jury getting to read it?


  1. Obviously the DA was deeply concerned that a Jury might not support the current homicide laws.

  2. WaterBoy5:12 PM

    Res Ipsa: "Hopefully Mr. Ianicelli will get a jury of 12 people who had a chance to read his pamphlet. Even if they didn't, how is a prosecutor going to try the case without the pamphlet becoming evidence and the jury getting to read it?"

    Precisely. Were I in Mr. Ianicelli's position, I would reject any plea bargain offered and go to trial, where I would introduce the pamphlet as evidence. Then I would frame the case as a First Amendment issue, and let the jury decide. Ironically enough, showing the pamphlet directly to somebody else's jury would be tampering, but showing it to his own jury would not.

    And there is previous case law supporting this stance, too. A Federal Judge threw out similar charges against a man in New York a few years ago, stating:

    "Wood wrote that Heicklen did not violate the law by handing out pamphlets discussing the role of juries in society and urging jurors to follow their consciences regardless of instructions on the law. She said the law would be violated only if Heicklen tried to influence the action or decision of a juror on a specific case pending before that juror."

    And another case in Nevada also ended up with charges being dismissed because going to trial would expose the jury to the very evidence the DA would wish to surpress:

    "Meanwhile, out in Nevada, a 50-year-old florist and grandmother almost landed in prison for her efforts to help spread the word to jurors. When her son went on trial for drug charges in federal court. Yvonne Regas and a friend papered the windshields of nearby parked cars, hoping to let the jurors learn the completely unexpected fact that her son faced 450 years in prison for a single drug transaction nine years earlier. Federal authorities charged her with jury tampering and obstruction of justice, but eventually dropped the charges. Presumably, they gave up hope of figuring out how they could get jurors to convict her without showing them the contents of the pamphlets she had been distributing-and then her jury would know the truth about nullification."

    I sincerely hope that Mr. Ianicelli gets hold of a good lawyer who can get this case dismissed at the initial hearing. It's quite likely that the DA knows all about the situation, but is pressing forward to force Mr. Ianicelli to spend as much as possible in an effort to stifle his future efforts. Who can afford to post bail and pay for an attorney every time a zealous DA decides to teach them a lesson?

  3. Anonymous7:08 PM

    IMO, This is a crock. So long as Lanicelli didn't ask a specific Juror to change the outcome of a trail he did nothing wrong.

  4. Susan3:39 PM

    What the guy was doing was poisoning the well that the DA draws the jury from. Having served on a jury, I can understand where the DA is coming from.

    You don't have to talk to a specific person. Just tainting the pool is more than plenty just cause for a DA to act. They kind of have to, to protect the system, such as it is.