Man Arrested, Charged with Multiple Felonies for Telling Jurors About Their Rights

August 3, 2015   |   Carey Wedler

Carey Wedler
August 3, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) 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.

The practice was first used in America in 1735 to exonerate a man of libel charges after he printed unflattering statements about the Governor of New York (a British colony at the time). Though he had undoubtedly printed them, the jury found him not guilty and set the precedent that members of juries could judge the morality and legitimacy of laws.

The United States’ first Chief Justice, John Jay, once told jurors,You have a right to take upon yourselves to judge [both the facts and law].” Jurors would seize this right to nullify anti-sedition laws in the early 1800s that attempted to stifle free speech criticizing the newly formed United States government.

Judges first began cracking down on the right to nullify in the late 1800s. By that time, jurors had already used nullification to challenge the Fugitive Slave Act, which imposed heavy punishment on Northerners who aided escaped slaves from the South. Though judges came to discourage nullification, the practice went on to be useful in nullifying Prohibition-era laws.

Jury nullification still affects prohibition against outlawed drugs. In 2012, a New Hampshire jury acquitted a Rastafarian man, Doug Darrell, of growing marijuana—though he was technically guilty of the violation. The jurors had been informed of their right to nullify and found the law and charges against Darrell to be unjust. They found him not guilty.

However, this power of the people has not gone unchecked. Though some states allow for the practice, judges often fail to notify jurors of their ability to nullify. Activists have been harassed and jailed for attempting to inform jurors of their right to judge the morality of laws.

The Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA), a non-profit organization that educates jurors on their rights (and whose pamphlets Ianicelli was handing out when he was arrested), is one group that attempts to counter these suppressions by the justice system.

Kirsten Tynan of FIJA reported on Ianicelli’s case, stating that officials in Denver claimed a juror had complained about Ianicelli’s presence near the courthouse, prompting his arrest. Tynan was told Ianicelli was arrested on charges of jury tampering, which according to Colorado law, consists of:

(1) A person commits jury-tampering if, with intent to influence a juror’s vote, opinion, decision, or other action in a case, he attempts directly or indirectly to communicate with a juror other than as a part of the proceedings in the trial of the case.

(1.5) A person commits jury-tampering if he knowingly participates in the fraudulent processing or selection of jurors or prospective jurors.

(2) Jury-tampering is a class 5 felony; except that jury-tampering in any class 1 felony trial is a class 4 felony.

Though Tynan acknowledged that under some circumstances nullification activism is not legally permissible, it appears Ianicelli was within his rights. He is due back in court on August 11 to face his victimless felony charges.

It is more than alarming that a man attempting to facilitate and strengthen the judicial process is punished with the full force of the law—the very thing Ianicelli sought to educate jurors about. As Harlan F. Stone, the 12th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court said in 1941, “The law itself is on trial quite as much as the cause which is to be decided.” When the justice system refuses to allow jurors to be aware of their rights, let alone exercise them, the country’s entire system of “law and order” is called into question.

*Update: On Wednesday, FIJA obtained the government’s “Complaint and Information and Statement of Probable Cause” filing against Ianicelli. You can view an analysis of the charges here.


This article (Man Arrested, Charged with Multiple Felonies for Telling Jurors About Their Rights) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Carey Wedler and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

Carey Wedler joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in September of 2014. As a writer and senior editor, her topics of interest include the police and warfare states, the Drug War, the relevance of history to current problems and solutions, and positive developments that drive humanity forward. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where she was born and raised. Learn more about Wedler here!

Author: Carey Wedler

Carey Wedler joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in September of 2014. Her topics of interest include the police and warfare states, the Drug War, the relevance of history to current problems and solutions, and positive developments that drive humanity forward. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where she was born and raised.

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40 Comments

  1. Call flood the Denver office. Governor's Front Office: (303) 866-2471
    Office of the Governor
    136 State Capitol Bldg
    Denver, CO 80203

    Denver County courthouse D.A. Lindsay-Flanigan courthouse
    Our main reception phone number is 720-913-9000.
    For misdemeanors in County Court, call 720-913-9011
    For felonies in District Court, call 720-913-9000

    Post a Reply
  2. Someone else posted this intelligent comment on another page: He should demand a jury trial, then when it comes time the evidence will have to be shown to the jurors, then the judge will have to answer whether this is true or false. The defendant can then bring up the legal presidents and rulings made by scotus and others affirming the rights of jurors to use nullification. Then demand that the bailiff take into custody the prosecutor and officers that arrested him for malicious prosecution and false arrest. Then sue the hell out of them.

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  4. hopefully the jury that is seated for his trial are aware of their rights to nullify too.

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  5. These DAs need to be taught the difference between tampering with a jury & educating ordinary people about their jury rights. One is an intentional scheme to influence an impartial judgement, the other is the right to free speech, educating people. Down with these lawyers & juges, freedom for all. This is how fascism starts – with attacks on 1st amendment rights.

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  6. I called the DA's office. They put me on hold as soon as I told her what I was calling about. LOL. Dang they hate getting called out on their crap.

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  7. BE SMART AND BECOME RICH IN LESS THAN 3DAYS….It all depends on how fast you can be to get the new PROGRAMMED blank ATM card that is capable of hacking into any ATM machine,anywhere in the world. I got to know about this BLANK ATM CARD when I was searching for job online about a month ago..It has really changed my life for good and now I can say I'm rich and I can never be poor again. The least money I get in a day with it is about $2,000.(two thousand USD) Every now and then I keeping pumping money into my account. Though is illegal,there is no risk of being caught ,because it has been programmed in such a way that it is not traceable,it also has a technique that makes it impossible for the CCTVs to detect you..For details on how to get yours today, email the hackers on : (atmmachinehackes @ gmail.com). Tell your loved once too, and start to live large. That's the simple testimony of how my life changed for good…Love you all …the email address again is atmmachinehackes@gmail.com

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  8. If truthfully informing a juror of legal facts is jury tampering, then every judge who has ever presided over a jury trial, who informed the jurors of what the law says, has committed at least 12 counts of jury tampering.

    Judges have civil immunity, but NO ONE has criminal immunity.

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  9. The system doesn't want you to know you can nullify. Legislators pass bad laws, and nullification then makes fools out of judges, prosecutors and cops. Our schools should be teaching jury nullification. If you reach adulthood and don't know you can do it our schools aren't doing their job.

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  10. This kind of Judge is in violation of his Oath of Office. In fact, Juror's should know their rights and their duty before serving their community. The problem is that the "judicial system" is a CORPORATION and they do not want to give up their benefits, so they know how to pick a "yes" jury to keep the income flowing.

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  11. These type of charges are in themselves unconstitutional. ANY victimless crime should NEVER be a felony under ANY circumstance. This man is right in informing the juries of their DUTY to aqit if the law OR the punishment is unjust. The god syndrome judges have is despicable and proof they should be removed from the bench.

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  12. I really wish that it was that way, it doesn't, I know, I am rubberband54 on YT. My arrest video and my entire trial is there. Watch and see what's really going on.

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  13. Exactly. Further, in their Marbury decision, SCOTUS ruled that anything, even in the form of "law", that contradicts our Constitution is null and void at inception, and "creates no duty to obey". It is past time for the knowledge and use of nullification to become viral. Upon reaching critical mass, this procedure can restore sanity to America without having to screw around with the politicians, the bankers, or the court system. This represents real life "power to the people". Spread the work, folks…

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  14. Show up outside the courthouse (not just this courthouse, every courthouse) and spread the word. This is not trying to influence anyone's vote, but rather it is making sure those chosen to render justice understand what justice consists of, and their legal options to deal with the merits or lack or merits of the cases they must judge. Legally correct materials are available here: http://fija.org/

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  15. Ms. Wedler shoud educate the Juri in the Aron Hernandez case this was the most unfair case in History no motive, no weapon and no reason to to comit the crimes he was accuse of comitting the court and the procecutor violated every law on the book and his constitution rights the Judge fair to mention the Nullificatio right to the juri, some of the juri believe that Mr. Hernandez was innocent.

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  16. This is not English: ". . . by finding defendants charged with them not guilty." Not trying to be the Grammar Police, but the fact is if you cannot communicate clearly, you are communicating nothing, and wasting both the author's and reader's time. Proof read, or better yet, use a grammar correcter so you can catch these fax pas.

    The fact is the guy was engaging in public assembly on outdoor steps, distributing legal fliers about legal rights, albeit ones the government and legal system would rather people not know, which is part & parcel of our government's slow & systematic dumbing down of Americans & taking YOUR rights – which, by the way, people are all too willing to hand them anymore.

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  18. It seems the words,"in a case" from section one are of upmost importance here. Unless he was activly seeking jurors from a particular case there is no way the law will apply to him. He should absolutlely ask for a jury trial!

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  19. Seditious criminals holding positions of police, District Attorneys, Attorneys General and Judges have been criminally manipulating and influencing juries for years, in order to fill jails and prisons with the innocent and to gain funds and laurals which they share among themselves. Naturally, they do not want honest citizens sabotaging their system, so they accuse the honest citizens of the crimes that the seditious criminal police, attorneys and judges are committing. But, who, but vigilanties, can prosecute the seditious criminal police, prosecutors and judges? When seditious criminals embed themselves in governments it is most difficult to roust them as they destroy the legitimate government and the viability of the society whole. In time, they destroy whole nations. Maybe the people who have succeded in bringing the criminal holding the position of Attorney General of Texax to trial can give some insight into this matter.

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  21. In the 1895 in the case of Sparf v. United States written by Justice John Marshall Harlan, the United States Supreme Court held 5 to 4 that a trial judge has no responsibility to inform the jury of the right to nullify laws. This decision, often cited, has led to a common practice by United States judges to penalize anyone who attempts to present a nullification argument to jurors and to declare a mistrial if such argument has been presented to them. In some states, jurors are likely to be struck from the panel during voir dire if they will not agree to accept as correct the rulings and instructions of the law as provided by the judge.[36]

    In recent rulings, the courts have continued to prohibit informing juries about jury nullification. In a 1969, Fourth Circuit decision, U.S. v. Moylan, 417 F.2d 1002 (4th Cir.1969), the Court affirmed the concept of jury nullification, but upheld the power of a court to refuse to permit an instruction to the jury to this effect.[37] In 1972, in United States v. Dougherty, 473 F.2d 1113, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a ruling similar to Moylan that affirmed the de facto power of a jury to nullify the law but upheld the denial of the defense's chance to instruct the jury about the power to nullify.[38]

    In 1988, the Sixth Circuit upheld a jury instruction: "There is no such thing as valid jury nullification." In 'United States v. Thomas (1997), the Second Circuit ruled that jurors can be removed if there is evidence that they intend to nullify the law. The Supreme Court has not recently confronted the issue of jury nullification. Further, as officers of the court, attorneys have sworn an oath to uphold the law, and are ethically prohibited from directly advocating for jury nullification.[39]

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  22. @ Ed Williams : Bankers ? ? ? Huh? What do "bankers" have to do with this discussion ?

    Me smells a conspiracy theorist.

    Post a Reply
  23. Thanks for the info, Ted.

    So in your first paragraph, the Supremes absolve judges of their responsibility to inform jurors of their rights. Then judges use that lack of responsibility as legal justification to criminalize anyone who DOES inform jurors, even though doing so is NOT a crime. Further, judges will dismiss any juror who expresses knowledge of the right of nullification or any inclination not to obey the specific instructions of the judge like an absolutely subordinate subject, though those instructions may very well violate the law itself.

    In your second paragraph, we see that courts uphold the legality of nullification but allow judges to prohibit any officer of the court from informing juries of this right.

    In the third paragraph, first we see that courts uphold the practice of judges giving legally false instructions to juries, that is, judges are allowed to outright lie to juries about the law. That HAS to be a felony . . . how can that in and of itself not be jury tampering? And we see the courts continue the authoritarian practice of ejecting any juror who may intend to nullify. We also see the supposed "principle" that officers of the court are duty-bound to "uphold the law" and not to advocate directly for jury nullification, even though jury nullification is PART of the law — albeit a part that can trump other law.

    Anyone can see that judges and prosecutors are opposed to jury nullification because it gives jurors the authority and independence to find in contravention of the product of legislatures AND in contravention of the desires and best efforts of court officers. That is, jury nullification gives juries freedom, independence, autonomy and authority that judges and prosecutors don't want them to have.

    One thing judges and prosecutors can't stand is for a jury, which is selected from the unwashed masses, NOT to be UNDER THEIR THUMB.

    Ol' Billy was right: let's kill all the lawyers — kill them tonight. –The Eagles

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  24. Jeff Smith 'So in your first paragraph, the Supremes absolve judges of their responsibility to inform jurors of their rights.'

    What responsibility? Imposed by whom? If the Supreme Court says that judges don't have to tell jurors about nullification, what gives you the right to say that judges have a responsibility to do that? I just checked out the Constitution (which I pretty much know by heart, TYVM) and it does not say that Jeff Smith gets to overrule the Supreme Court.

    One thing you may not be clear upon, Jeff, is that, by law, jurors do not determine the law. They determine the facts of the case. The prosecutor says guilty, the defense says no you did not prove guilt. The jury decides which is right. That is the limit to their authority under the law.

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  25. @ Tom —

    As a matter of fact . . . if the officers of the court are shown to have worked together to subvert the law in any way or to prosecute or imprison falsely, they can be prosecuted under Rico as organized crime.

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  26. All you need to know is, "It's Illegal to use a legal Name" Fraud is fraud, and any agreement based in fraud is Null. losethename.com

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