NewsBriefs BUTTONS


Colorado Appeals Court Overturns
Juror Laura Kriho's Contempt Conviction

IN THE COURTS

Summer 1999

On April 29, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled 2-to1 to reverse the contempt of court conviction against Laura Kriho, who was accused of misconduct during her service as a juror in a drug trial (Colorado v. Kriho, Colorado Court of Appeals, #97CA0700; Reuters, "U.S. court overturns juror's contempt conviction," April 29, 1999; Angel Hernandez, "Appeals court reverses conviction," Denver Rocky Mountain News, April 30, 1999, p. 38A; "Contempt Ruling Reversed," Denver Post, May 1, 1999, p. 4B; Christopher Anderson, "Past Juror Granted Retrial," Boulder Daily Camera, May 2, 1999).

The appeals court said Gilpin County Judge Henry Nieto wrongly considered testimony regarding statements made in the juryroom in finding Kriho guilty of contempt in 1997. Kriho can be re-prosecuted without the transcript evidence. Judge Sandra Rothenberg, for the majority, said government invasion into the jury process is dangerous because it tends to "chill the willingness of our citizens to serve on juries."

In 1996, Kriho served on the jury for a methamphetamine possession case, where she was the sole juror to vote for acquittal on one of the counts. The jury was unanimous in convicting on a second count and unanimous in acquitting on a third count. The case ended in mistrial. The Gilpin County district attorney's office investigated Kriho and discovered her 1985 arrest for possession of LSD and her active support for reform of hemp laws. The district attorney's office charged Kriho with contempt of court for failing to disclose this information during jury selection, even though she was not asked for such information. (See NewsBriefs, March-April 1997, p. 24; NewsBriefs, December 1996, p. 9).

Laura Kriho - P.O. Box 1133, Nederland, CO 80466, Tel: (303) 258-7746, E-mail: <lkriho@eagle-access.net>. Laura Kriho Legal Defense Fund/Jury Rights Project - P.O. Box 729, Nederland, CO 80466, V-mail: (303) 448-5640, E-mail: <jrights@levellers.org>, Web: <www.levellers.org/jrp>.

District Attorney Dave Thomas - First Judicial District Attorney's Office, 500 Jefferson County Parkway, Golden, CO 80401, Tel: (303) 271-6800, Fax: (303) 271-6888, E-mail: <dthomas@co.jefferson.co.us>.