Rammell continued talking to reporters, as deputies were trying to put him into the car. "All I was doing, was trying to inform the jury of their rights," said Rammell. "These guys have to arrest me, and make this a major case." raw video of arrest from KTVB Channel 7 embedded below:
The story began on November 30th, 2010 when Fish & Wildlife officers found Rammell in possession of an elk. When the officers asked Rammell to show his hunting permit, he showed the officers one for the Middle Fork zone. Unfortunately, Rammell was hunting in the Tex Creek zone; furthermore, his permit had expired on October 31st. So Bonneville County Prosecutor Bruce Pickett charged Rammell with misdemeanor possession of game that was unlawfully taken. If convicted, Rammell could spend up to six months in jail with a $1,000 fine, and also get a hunting suspension. Rammell told media representatives that with a general deer tag you can hunt anywhere in the state until you get one, so he couldn't understand why there must be special zones designated for elk. As a result, Rammell decided to contest the charge.
However, on April 28th, matters got serious. Before his trial, Rex Rammell stood outside the courthouse and handed out fliers to potential jurors. The flier was entitled "The Jury's Secret Power", and was taken from the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA). Rammell's intent was not to promote a particular verdict, but to ensure that jurors were informed of all their options, to include judging the law as well as the facts. The president of FIJA's Idaho Chapter, Ted Dunlap, said Rammell's actions were perfectly legal. "The judge is going to try and influence the jury. The prosecutor is going to try and influence the jury. My goodness, well of course Rex Rammell has the right to try to influence the jury," Dunlap said. As a result of his actions, Rammell's trial was indefinitely delayed pending an investigation.
[Ed. Note: The Fully Informed Jury Association website is considered compromised by Google, so I won't provide a direct link. When I tried to load The Jury's Secret Power, I got gobbledygook.]
Obviously, prosecutors do not agree with the FIJA interpretation, so they investigated, and decided to prefer felony jury tampering charges. In a subsequent statement given to media outlets, Rammell acknowledged killing a cow elk in the wrong hunting zone, but he insists he was unaware of the law — and, as such, acted without criminal intent. And that's an important distinction -- intent. Rammell acted ignorantly rather than maliciously, but the system claims ignorance is no defense, even in a crime against procedure where there is no actual victim, in addition to crimes against persons and property, where there are actual victims. Of course, it does not excuse the fact that Rammell's permit had expired; he should have been responsible enough to ensure his permit was up to date.
But the charge of jury tampering does appear to be politically motivated, considering that Rammell must still answer the charge of misdemeanor possession of game that was unlawfully taken. Thus the prosecutor is engaging in the practice of charge-stacking to induce a defendant to plea bargain.
Rex Rammell stirred up some brief controversy during his gubernatorial campaign when he proposed to launch series of special meetings targeted specifically at "faithful priesthood-holders of the LDS Church" to discuss the White Horse prophecy. After public criticism, he opened to meetings to the general public. Rammell finished a respectable second to incumbent Governor Butch Otter in the Republican primary.
Rammell's statement to the media was also disseminated via e-mail; I received a copy indirectly via Deon Masker, and re-publish it below:
From: Rex Rammell
Sent: Monday, June 27, 2011 1:22 PM
Subject: Rex Rammell Felony Charge
Maybe some of you have heard that I was first charged with a Misdemeanor for Unlawfully Possessing Wildlife. I have been fighting that charge since Nov 30. I bought an elk tag for the Middlefork zone, but was unsuccessful, so I hunted and was successful in the Tex Creek Zone. I had been misinformed and the rule book was ambiguous enough, that I thought the zones were set up merely for harvest data reasons. My tag gave no expiration date, nor did it say I could only hunt in that zone. This new rule was made in 1999. Prior to that a person could buy a general elk tag and hunt anywhere a season was open.
My defense is that I did not know it was illegal to hunt in more than one zone and the Fish and Game rule book was not clear on that issue (referencing the zone issue ambiguously, only once in the booklet, and not even in the rules and regulations section).
The prosecutor and the judge have ruled that ignorance or mistake of fact is no defense, but the following sections of law clearly are on my side. However, they will not allow me to enter them into evidence or argue them.
1. IDAHO CODE 18-114. Union of act and intent. In every crime or public offense there must exist a union, or joint operation, of act and intent, or criminal negligence.
2. Idaho Code 18-115. Manifestation of intent. Intent or intention is manifested by the commission of the acts and surrounding circumstances connected with the offense.
3. Idaho Code 18-201. Persons capable of committing crimes. All persons are capable of committing crimes, except those belonging to the following classes:
-- 1. Persons who committed the act or made the omission charged, under an ignorance or mistake of fact, which disproves any criminal intent.
-- 2. Persons who committed the act charged without being conscious thereof.
-- 3. Persons who committed the act or made the omission charged, through misfortune or by accident, when it appears that there was not evil design, intention or culpable negligence.
I was scheduled for trial the end of April. Since the judge would not allow me to bring my defense, I felt like my only hope was for the jury to nullify the judge's instructions, finding the law had been misapplied. Since I knew I would be shut down immediately when I tried to talk about jury nullification, I decided to hand out the attached leaflet to the jury as they entered the courthouse the morning of the trial.
The trial was continued due to some last minute maneuvering on my part until June 30th. IN the meantime, I have been charged and arrested (on youtube) with felony jury tampering and will go before a judge on July 6th prior to trial.
Some supporters have suggested a phone war on the prosecutor to rattle his chain and encourage him to drop the charges might help. If you can help, please call 208-529-1350 and try to talk with Bruce Pickett, the District Attorney. If he felt his reelection campaign could be in jeopardy, he may drop the charges. Mind you, if I am convicted I will never be able to run for office again.
My political future is on the line. Please help if you can. Thank you!