Juror Held In Contempt After Refusing To Convict Drug Offender

A juror who maintains that she had “reasonable doubt” regarding the guilt of a drug defendant could face over six months in prison and an unspecified fine after being cited by Gilpin County Judge Kenneth Barnhill for contempt of court.

NORML Kriho is scheduled to begin a jury trial in late September to defend herself against allegations that she tainted a jury in the case of a 19 year-old female defendant charged with felony possession of methamphetamine. According to Barnhill, Kriho allegedly disobeyed a court order by discussing sentences in her deliberations. Kriho insisted that she ultimately voted to acquit because she had reasonable doubts as to the defendant’s guilt based on the facts of the case as presented by the prosecution. Barnhill also alleged that Kriho committed perjury by lying under oath to the Judge and the attorneys by failing to volunteer information regarding a prior drug conviction from 1984. Kriho argued that she was never specifically asked about her criminal history and notes that she received a deferred sentence for the 1984 conviction.

“I tried to do my job as a juror well,” Kriho said. “I had never been on a jury before, and the whole experience was unique and very stressful. Now I feel I am being unfairly singled-out and punished for coming up with the ‘wrong’ verdict.”

Attorney Paul Grant, who is representing Kriho in this case, warned that the prosecution of his client threatens to undermine the jury system. “Jurors must be able to deliberate independently of the judge, without the threat of criminal prosecution hanging over their heads,” he stated.

For more information, please contact Attorney Paul Grant at (303) 841-9649 or e-mail: pkgrant@ix.netcom.com. Those wishing to donate money for NORML Kriho’s defense fund may write to: NORML Kriho Defense Fund c/o Paul Grant, P.O. Box 1272, Parker, CO 80134.