Time: Sat Oct 04 00:31:34 1997
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Date: Fri, 03 Oct 1997 23:51:27 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: Convicted juror fights to reverse judge's fine (fwd)

>September 22, 1997
>Convicted juror fights to reverse judge's fine
>Woman didn't disclose arrest for LSD
>By Valerie Richardson
>Feedback: letter@twtmail.com
>DENVER--  Living among the hippies and ski bums who inhabit the tiny
>mountain town of Nederland, Colo., is the young hemp activist who has the
>nation's legal community in an uproar.
>Her name is Laura Kriho, and she's a 33-year-old research assistant who
>was called two years ago for jury duty in a drug-possession case in
>Gilpin County, Colo. During jury selection, she said nothing about her
>support for legalizing industrial hemp or her arrest at 21 for possession
>of LSD.
>Once jury deliberations began, she refused to vote to convict the
>defendant, instead trying to convert fellow jurors to her position by
>discussing the criminal penalties involved and the rights of jurors to
>nullify the law.
>When word reached the judge, he declared a mistrial. Two months later, he
>took the highly unusual step of charging Mrs. Kriho with criminal
>contempt of court. She was convicted in March and fined $1200.
>Her case is believed to be the first in which a juror has been so charged
>since a jury refused to convict William Penn for preaching to an unlawful
>religious assembly. That was in 1670, and in his case, the appeals court
>sided with the jury, thus establishing the right of jurors to weigh the
>law along with the facts of the case.
>Her critics, who include judges, prosecutors and prominent lawyers, have
>blasted her as a rabble-rouser who deceived the court in order to insert
>her pro-drug views into the judicial process. The prosecutor, James
>Stanley, said at the time of her conviction that she "played games" to
>"further her personal agenda."
>"This woman would like to make herself out to be a martyr, but what she
>did and failed to do was really not commendable," said Miles Cortez, a
>past president of the Colorado Bar Association.
>But her supporters in the jury nullification movement see her as no less
>than a constitutional heroine, someone with the courage to defy the court
>by upholding the jury's historical role as a check on government
>What exactly she is will now be decided by another round of judges. Her
>attorney, Paul Grant of Parker, Colo., filed a brief yesterday with the
>state Court of Appeals, but says he may ultimately leapfrog that body and
>instead bring the case directly to the Colorado Supreme Court.
>If she loses, that would clear the path for an appeal to the Supreme
>Court, where Mr. Grant believes the issue ideally should be decided.
>"It's unprecedented, prosecuting a juror. It's just out of control," said
>Mr. Grant. "There's too much control by the court and prosecution, and it
>threatens to destroy the purpose of having jury trials."
>"The jury is a check on the government's power, and it's not surprising
>the government resents it," he said.
>Her conviction has lent legitimacy to the small but resurgent
>jury-nullification movement which is based on the principle that jurors
>should decide whether the law is just or unjust instead of confining
>themselves to the facts of the case. Not surprisingly, groups such as the
>Fully Informed Jury Association have made her their "poster child," she
>says, while helping raise money for her defense.
>Even those uncomfortable with jury nullification say her case has raised
>crucial questions about how far the court may go to sanitize a jury of
>any preconceived opinion or bias. Her supporters note that defendants are
>supposed to be tried by juries of their peers, and in places like Gilpin
>County, their peers are bound to include those in favor of some form of
>drug legalization.
>"Sure, Kriho has been an active hempie -- a strange but not uncommon
>breed in our mountains," said the Rocky Mountain News in a Feb. 15
>editorial. "But it's not the business of the court to ascertain juries'
>political philosophies. When you command their appearance, you should
>take what you get and be grateful for it."
>Critics say the crux of the debate centers on her conduct during the
>jury-selection process, not in the jury room. The case dealt with a
>19-year-old woman accused of felony possession of methamphetamine, and
>Mrs. Kriho was one of the last in a long procession of prospective jurors
>to undergo questioning.
>While waiting in the gallery, she heard prosecutors ask prospective
>jurors whether they had ever been arrested. But when it came to her turn,
>she was asked instead, "You listened to all of our topics; would you have
>answered anything differently?" She replied "No."
>Mrs. Kriho was picked for the jury, something that prosecutors say never
>would have happened if she had brought up her 1985 arrest for possession
>of LSD. But Mrs Kriho notes that she received a deferred judgment, and
>that the charge was supposed to have been erased from her record after
>two years of probation.
>In addition, she argues, prospective jurors were asked about 350
>questions that day. Her crime was failing to do the prosecutors' job by
>volunteering information her attorney said.
>"They were trying to compel jurors to volunteer information not connected
>to the trial," said Mr. Grant. "She's being punished for not answering
>questions they didn't ask. Well, jurors aren't going to do that
>--they're intimidated as hell."
>But in his ruling against her, First Judicial Chief Judge Henry Nieto
>insisted her crime lay in misleading the court by refusing to reveal her
>past involvement with drugs, not her advocacy for nullification in the
>jury room.
>"It is one thing to laud the efforts of a jury fairly picked and honestly
>chosen to decide a case in conformity with their conscience" he wrote in
>his decision. "It is quite another thing for a juror to deliberately
>mislead the court in an effort to obstruct the administration, of
>For her part, Mrs. Kriho doesn't buy it. "If we'd come back with a guilty
>verdict," she says, "none of, this would have happened."
>Washington Times
>3600 New York Ave., NE
>Washington, D.C. 20002
>Phone: (202) 636-3000
>Fax: (202) 269-3419
>Web: http://www.washtimes.com
>Feedback: letter@twtmail.com
>		      Re-distributed by the:
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Paul Andrew Mitchell, Sui Juris      : Counselor at Law, federal witness 01
B.A.: Political Science, UCLA;   M.S.: Public Administration, U.C.Irvine 02
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_____________________________________: Law is authority in written words 09
As agents of the Most High, we came here to establish justice.  We shall 10
not leave, until our mission is accomplished and justice reigns eternal. 11
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