From the July 2004 Idaho Observer:
Stanley trial reveals new interpretation of ancient courtroom concept: jury of his peers
This will not pretend to be objective reporting. The dishonesty of the entire persecution of Rick Stanley is rooted in the premise that the state holds the moral and legal high ground and, therefore, Stanley is immoral and his actions illegal. The police and the media are apparently unable to process any mantra other than the state is always right therefore Stanley is always wrong. The Stanley case causes grownups (educated professionals even) to suspend well-settled principles of law, forget the meaning of words and turn a deaf ear to his repeated petitions for an impartial public venue where his well-founded concerns would be heard by his peers.
But, as you will see, Stanley was always denied the basics of due process; the policemen, members of the local media and officers of the courts chose to ignore the facts and take the side of the state against this one man, by ignoring the point he was trying to make. Then a jury of children was chosen to find Rick Stanley guilty on two counts of influencing a public official.
No, there is no pretended objectivity here. The way Rick Stanley was treated from the moment he put himself in court to the moment he was found guilty is such a slap in the face of Americans and everything it means to be a thinking person that I find myself unable to feel anything but shame for how weak, fearful, petty, selfish and stupid many Americans have become.
by Don Harkins for Rick and Pam, Ingri, Al, Mike, Mark, Justin, Bill, Beth, Diane, and everyone else who thought a jury was present with us in the courtroom
A jury not of Rick Stanley's peers found the successful 50-year-old Denver businessman guilty of two counts of influencing a public official. The trial lasted two and a half days and the jury deliberated for 12 hours before reaching a verdict June 24, 2004.
Because Stanley, who at the time was the Libertarian Party candidate for the U.S. Senate, chose to use the U.S. Constitution and U.S. Code, the Constitution for the State of Colorado and Colorado State Law to challenge the authority of a local ordinance, he faces up to 35 years in prison.
In the beginning
During the summer of 2002, Stanley was campaigning for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Stanley believes that the Founders had it right, that government is to be limited in size, influence and has no business in the personal affairs of law-abiding citizens. He also believes that government has a tendency to get too big, too intrusive and will inevitably begin to enforce laws that limit the people's God-given rights to live, be happy and accumulate property.
It is no secret how Stanley feels about freedom; it is no secret that history supports Stanley's belief that the only way for common people to protect themselves against tyranny is to have arms and be trained (by each other) to use them.
(Go to www.stanley2002.org and read all about what Stanley believes. Prosecutors, judges, cops and members of the media did -- you may as well know what they knew about Rick Stanley).
While campaigning at the Adams County Fairgrounds, Stanley was openly carrying a gun in a holster on his hip. Stanley knew it was a violation of a Brighton, Colorado, city ordinance to openly carry a firearm; he was intentionally violating the ordinance because he believed that citizens were subject to state and federal constitutions, state and federal laws and that local codes must be in harmony with higher laws to be enforceable.
Stanley was given a citation for violating the ordinance. He contested the misdemeanor and a court date was set.
The court of judge Rose
City of Thornton Municipal Court Judge Charles Rose serves at the pleasure of the Brighton City Council. He is not elected. Rose's job is to enforce whatever silly ordinance the council can implement for the purpose of collecting fines and restricting the rights of citizens.
The court record shows that judge Rose was extremely prejudiced against Stanley and would not listen to arguments claiming that state and federal Constitutions are higher law than his city ordinance. He was also unable to provide an oath of office or the existence of a surety bond per state law.
The court record also shows that Stanley always behaved respectfully while Rose acted like a pompous jerk.
Rose found Stanley guilty of violating the ordinance and sentenced him to serve 90 days in jail and pay a $5,000 fine.
Stanley appealed Rose's decision which was upheld by Colorado District Court Judge Donald Marshall.
In March, 2003, the Colorado State Legislature passed a law reaffirming the state Consitution by prohibiting local governments from passing any measures intended to restrict the citizens' right to keep and bear arms. The stated intent of the legislature was that the act be retroactive.
In other words, the ordinance under which Stanley was being prosecuted was nullified by state lawmakers. Stanley alerted Rose to this fact and it, like all his other points of law, was completely ignored.
In an effort to compel the court to recognize the grave legal error it was making by not observing the authority of state law in this case, Stanley filed a document with the district court stating that Marshall and Rose would be indicted, arrested and tried for treason per Colorado state law. Then Stanley was himself arrested, served his sentence and paid the fines for the misdemeanor.
Charges that Stanley attempted to influence public officials by filing his Notice of Order in district court were filed in February, 2004. Trial was set for June 21, 2004. A new round of persecution had begun.
To help combat the new charges, which were very serious, Stanley hired Scott Reisch, a successful Denver attorney.
Between the filing of charges and the trial date, the Stanleys and their business was subjected to both overt and covert attacks. Overtly, Stanley was arrested by a swat team on income tax-related charges and covertly, his employees were being pressured to leave and his business, Stanley Fasteners and Shop Supply, was being undermined.
In an effort to bring attention to his case, the Stanleys organized a dinner event in Denver. More than 80 people came from all over the country to eat a marvelous dinner at Maggianos, say a few words and support the principles of honor, decency and law upon which Stanley bases all of his actions. Ingri and I were there. It was a good evening of fellowship. Both Rick and his wife Pam were regal hosts.
Pam, this line is for you: Rick must be worthy of our respect and support because you, one of the loveliest and most noble creatures God ever created, met and exceeded the challenges of all this with uncommon grace.
The jury of peers
We do kangaroos a disservice by using them to reference a phony court trial. I am certain if kangaroos held court, it would reach a much higher standard than what American humans attain in 2004.
At 7:30 a.m., a small cadre of Stanley supporters bearing signs arrived at the Adams County Courthouse outside Brighton. It was a cold, windy, rainy morning. By 8 a.m. a dozen people were holding signs, passing out Fully Informed Jury Association literature, opening doors and peacefully supporting Stanley.
We were being watched by two squads, three cops each and two patrol cars were always cruising the parking lots and streets surrounding the courthouse. This was a part of the big show to keep people believing Stanley and his supporters are a bunch of dangerous, wild-eyed domestic terrorists.
Once inside the Adams County Courthouse, after passing through the first security check, you have to stand there while monitors (like the ones you consult for airplane arrivals and departures in airports) scroll through the alphabetized names for court locations and times.
When the Stanley trial came up on the monitor, it was wrong. Beth and Diane found the right courtroom and came down to tell everyone.
A special police detail was present to conduct another security check before passing into the courtroom.
Former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Joseph Quinn came out of semi-retirement to preside over the Stanley case.
About 50 people came in as the jury pool. Of them, 30 or so were young girls under the age of 21. It was something to see. The jury pool for the Rick Stanley trial looked like the sorority house at the University of Colorado on draft day. In other words, the jury pool was noticeably made up of young, attractive females, wrote Mike Cacioppo of the weekly newspaper Speak Out Vale.
The potential jurors' minds glazed over while being asked simple questions during the jury selection process. Some were chewing gum, one was reading Seventeen magazine. None of them had any knowledge of the Constitution, the 2nd Amendment or that there is a difference between state law, federal law, county ordinances and municipal code.
Only two guys showed a glimmer of understanding for Stanley's position -- they were excused.
It was impossible for people just out of high school, who know nothing about law, the court system or the jury system and have limited experience in the adult world to reach a just verdict in this case.
When the jury of Stanley's peers was picked, it was seven girls under 21, along with a 35-ish woman, a 21-ish quiet male, a 29-ish looking male, and two 35 to 40 year-old males. Nobody looking over 40 made the 49-year-old Stanley's jury, observed Cacioppo.
It was pretty clear to me this trial was over before it started. Adams County officials stacked the deck before dealing the cards, Cacioppo added.
At public expense Rose had bodies guarding him -- another show to make Stanley and his supporters appear as something they are not.
Rose demonstrated that he was arrogant and prejudiced against Stanley and had no intention of listening to his arguments or overturing an ordinance that violated both state and federal law. He claimed to not recall many important aspects of the case and had to continually be reminded from transcript. Hearing transcripts revealed that Rose was extremely rude, uncooperative and did everything in his power to obstruct Stanley's attempts to defend himself. Rose also admitted that Stanley always behaved properly and respectfully while in his courtroom.
Rose claimed to be in fear of his life after the notice was filed, but did not contact police or do any of the things most people would do if they felt their life was being threatened.
The court was recessed until 8:30 the following morning.
People again arrived at 7:30 a.m. to hold signs, open doors and demonstrate peacefully in support of Stanley. Again there were two squads with three cops each watching the Stanley supporters and two patrol cars were patrolling the area.
One of the demonstrators asked a plainclothes man he knew to be a cop what he thought of all this. They ought to blow his fu***ng head off, he said, referring to Stanley before stomping away in anger.
The second security checkpoint was still being manned outside the courtroom door.
The first witness was T.J. Page-Penner who had worked at Stanley Fastener for six years. Penner was the one who typed up the infamous notice and filed it with the district court per Stanley's request.
In testimony it was revealed that shortly after filing the notice Penner was contacted by the FBI. She was told they would provide her with immunity if she helped them investigate Stanley (as if one needs immunity for filing a court document as ordered by her employer).
Penner admitted that she went into Stanley's personal computer and, without his permission, downloaded a file containing the names of militia pact members (a group Stanley started in an attempt to encourage group members to come to each other's aid in times of need). It was an encrypted file that she gave to the FBI.
It was also admitted that state police had access to this file. Reisch claimed that this file was never provided to him in discovery. The room was suddenly filled with a lot of tension.
The judge asked the jury to leave the room. Talk went back and forth with Penner on the stand. Then the judge began reasoning through what had just happened. He recounted for about 15 minutes what all had transpired and it was beginning to feel as if he was working up a head of steam to justify declaring a mistrial.
Then, all of a sudden, he said it doesn't matter and called for the jury to return. For the next several minutes I read his body language. He knew he had just committed a due process atrocity. He was ashamed, but not enough to put an end to the travesty taking place in his court.
Judge Marshall testified that receiving Stanley's written Notice of Order, though properly captioned and properly filed, felt like receiving a death sentence. Marshall, apparently feeling guilty before being given a fair trial on the charges, explained that the penalty for treason is death.
Stanley later testified that he only duplicated language found in the Constitution and that he never intended to harm or kill either judge.
Ingri and I had to leave at that time and begin the 1,046 mile journey back home.
We were told that Stanley, who is a big, athletically built, handsome, smiling, good-natured guy, did an excellent job testifying on his own behalf. He recounted the chain of events -- the frustrations, the obstructions, the lies and the criminal acts on the part of public officials -- that led up to his being charged for attempting to influence public officials with the filing of the notice.
Then both attorneys gave their closing comments and the case was given to the jury Wednesday afternoon. While deliberating, the jury asked the judge two questions: The meaning of a word and whether or not Rick Stanley knew where they lived.
Witnesses say Stanley, who would never even consider harming any member of the jury, was visibly crushed to think that these people would actually fear him. Whose trial was the jury attending? It certainly wasn't mine, Stanley commented.
When the jury returned after 12 hours of deliberation, 17 armed and uniformed police officers lined the walls in the courtroom in preparation for the verdict. The judge's instructions to the jury, in essence, told those 12 people, half of which were very young girls, to find Stanley guilty. So they did. Two men apparently held out for as long as they could but caved in.
Stanley intends to appeal the guilty verdict. It appears that he has numerous issues which are ripe for an appeals court.
Sentencing has been scheduled for Sept. 10, 2004.
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