Colorado v. IannicelliAnnotate this Case
Defendants Mark Iannicelli and Eric Brandt stood in the plaza square adjacent to a Denver Colorado courthouse, asking people entering the courthouse whether they were reporting for jury duty. If any of these people answered affirmatively, then Iannicelli and Brandt would hand them one or more brochures discussing the concept of jury nullification, which the brochures defined as the process by which a jury in a criminal case acquits the defendant regardless of whether he or she has broken the law in question. As a result of this conduct, the State charged Iannicelli and Brandt with multiple counts of jury tampering under Colorado’s jury tampering statute, section 18-8-609(1), C.R.S. (2019). Iannicelli and Brandt moved to dismiss these charges, contending that section 18-8-609(1) violates the First Amendment both on its face and as applied to them because, among other reasons, the statute results in an unconstitutionally overbroad restriction on free speech. The district court ultimately granted this motion, concluding that the jury tampering statute was unconstitutional as applied to Iannicelli and Brandt, and the State appealed. A division of the court of appeals affirmed the dismissal orders, although it did so without reaching the constitutional question. The Colorado Supreme Court was thus tasked with determining whether the appellate court properly interpreted the jury tampering statute. The Supreme Court found the appellate court's conclusion that the statute prohibited only attempts to influence seated jurors or for those selected for a venire from which a jury in a particular case will be chosen too narrow, though it agreed that the statute required that a defendant’s effort to influence a juror must be directed to a specifically identifiable case. Because the State did not charge Iannicelli and Brandt with such conduct, the Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court's judgment.