A legal controversy over a “jury ification” pamphlet has escalated into a turf war outside a Denver courthouse and a legal battle between city officials and activists, reports the Denver Post. The case has created some strange allies in the legal community, energized holdouts from the 2011 Occupy Denver community and ensnared a chief judge worried about security as a jury deliberated in Denver’s first death penalty case since 2001. The saga continues Tuesday morning when the parties of a civil rights lawsuit appear in U.S. District Court in Denver for a hearing over whether Police Chief Robert White should be held in contempt after his officers last week confiscated protesters’ property.
The dispute began in July when Denver prosecutors charged Mark Iannicelli, 56, with seven counts of jury tampering after he set up a small booth on courthouse property and began distributing jury ification brochures. Jury ification, which goes back centuries, occurs when a jury reaches a not guilty verdict because its members believe a law is immoral or wrongly applied. Meanwhile, federal Judge Michael Martinez issued an order banning protests outside the courthouse in anticipation of a verdict in the death penalty case, and he was added as a defendant in the civil rights lawsuit.