Skip to comments.Official advises jurors on God's law
Posted on 10/03/2003 5:57:00 AM PDT by SJackson
Jeffco treasurer distributes guides
Jefferson County Treasurer Mark Paschall has been giving away the jury guides at his own expense.
GOLDEN - From his county offices, Jefferson County Treasurer Mark Paschall has been handing out citizens' jury-rights guides that rely on biblical phrases and conservative thought.
Paschall said the 1,000 booklets - most stamped with his name and elected title - are "my personal gift to the people" and were purchased with $500 to $600 of his money and that of two political allies who work in the treasurer's office.
The pocket-sized booklets promote "jury nullification," a concept built upon since 1989 by politically conservative groups that argue juries have the right to not only decide guilt or innocence, but also whether laws are just and adhere to God's law.
"YOU ARE ABOVE THE LAW!" the booklet says. "As a JUROR in a trial setting, when it comes to your individual vote of innocent or guilty, you truly are answerable only to GOD ALMIGHTY."
"I want people to understand the form of government that we have and the rights and freedoms that went before," Paschall said. "If it raises eyebrows, I think it perhaps ends up waking people up."
County, political and legal officials say Paschall has a right to express his beliefs, but not to distribute such material at the Jefferson County Courts and Administration Facility.
"I don't think it is appropriate to pass these out in the treasurer's office in the county building," said Jefferson County Commissioner Pat Holloway.
While she supports some of the content, such as the Bill of Rights and Ten Commandments, Holloway said she is bothered by the 61-page booklet's "combination of religion and government."
Several county employees complained when copies of the "Citizens Rule Book" appeared in a hallway display during last week's 10th anniversary of the county building.
Cal Johnston, chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Party, asked, "What is the county treasurer doing handing out books like that?"
Johnston noted the treasurer's office is responsible for collecting taxes and investing money, not for weighing in on political processes.
"He is using his office as a pulpit for his conservative opinions," Johnston said.
County Attorney Bill Tuthill said he is researching whether Paschall can legally hand out the booklets in a public building.
Martin Katz, a constitutional-law professor at the University of Denver, said the jury-nullification idea has roots dating before the founding of the country. The concept, he said, is that a jury is supposed to serve as a bulwark against government oppression.
The religious overtones of Paschall's booklet "introduce an additional dimension," Katz said, and raise "some question whether this exposes the county to some type of liability."
By using his title in the literature, Paschall "gives someone a decent argument that it is the government," and not an individual, that is violating the establishment clause that requires separation of church and state, Katz said.
However, Katz said some U.S. Supreme Court justices have the view that "if you're government, you don't have to be religion-free."
Since taking office in January, Paschall has banged heads before with other officials.
First, it was an office-remodeling proposal and cronyism concerns raised when he hired former state Sen. Jim Congrove and the Independence Institute's Fred Holden, who helped pay for the booklets. Recently, he wanted to boost his employees' pay by 10 percent.
"I really don't want to comment on Mark Paschall," said Commissioner Michelle Lawrence.
Jack Stansberry, executive director of the Colorado Republican Party, said he has not seen the handbook.
However, Stansberry said, "Mark has always been a kind of fiery personality. ... I'm not surprised, knowing Mark and knowing his history."
Paschall was known for his anti-abortion and pro-gun beliefs during the eight years he represented Arvada and part of Westminster in the Colorado House of Representatives.
During last year's treasurer campaign, Paschall vowed to speak out on Second Amendment issues "when the opportunity arises."
"I have said from the very beginning I was not going to be like any other treasurer," Paschall said this week. "I'm a passionate man, and I'm willing to stand up for the things I believe in."
Paschall said the oath he took in January calls for him to first uphold and defend the Constitution and secondly to faithfully perform the duties of the office.
Paschall said the publisher, Whitten Printers of Phoenix, "was amazed an elected official would do this" and gave him a break on the $2-per-copy price.
"WARNING: THIS DOCUMENT MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO BAD LAWS. Courts may not welcome or approve of these truths, neither are they to be construed as legal advice. Therefore, to act on these facts is to do so at your own risk or opportunity."
"To be a good master you must always remember the true 'pecking order' or chain of command in this nation: 1. GOD created man ... 2. Man (that's you) created the Constitution ... 3. Constitution created government ... 4. Government created corporations ..."
"YOU ARE ABOVE THE LAW! As a JUROR in a trial setting, when it comes to your individual vote of innocent or guilty, you truly are answerable only to GOD ALMIGHTY."
"One JUROR can stop tyranny with a 'NOT GUILTY VOTE!' He can nullify bad law in any case, by 'HANGING THE JURY!"'
"Unchecked power is the foundation of tyranny. It is the JUROR'S duty to use the JURY ROOM as a vehicle to stem the tide of oppression and tyranny: To prevent bloodshed by peacefully removing power from those who have abused it. The JURY is the primary vehicle for the peaceable restoration of LIBERTY, POWER AND HONOR TO 'WE THE PEOPLE."'
FreeRepublic , LLC
PO BOX 9771
FRESNO, CA 93794
It is in the breaking news sidebar!
After Bob Dole linked arms with Bill Clinton, and the Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate put their heads together to craft the Freedom of Access to Clinics Entrances Act, crushing the Rescue Movement, there hasn't been so much talk about Jury Nullification.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.