Protesting a Denver ordinance against bearing arms, business owner and Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Rick Stanley late last year strapped on a hip holster bearing a .380 Beretta (fellow protester Duncan Philp chose a shoulder rig) during a Dec. 15 rally celebrating the 210th anniversary of the Bill of Rights.
He'd advertised what he was going to do and invited Denver police to come get him. They did. He was peacefully arrested by 18 officers, and brought to trial on May 15 in the municipal court of Judge Robert L. Patterson.
It was defense attorney Paul Grant's voir dire questioning of a potential juror who was also a police officer that gave the first indication of the way things were going to go in Judge Patterson's courtroom.
"I asked her when you became a police officer didn't you take an oath to protect and defend the constitutions of the United States and the state of Colorado. She said, 'I guess I did; I can't remember.' I asked her were you ever instructed in those constitutional rights, and she said no.
"Then I asked her, if the judge were to instruct you that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the defendant a right to keep and bear arms, do you think you could follow his instructions?"
Stanley describes "pandemonium" erupting in the Denver courtroom halfway through his attorney's question, the city attorney leaping to his feet to object as the judge banged his gavel.
Dismissing the prospective jurors for lunch, Judge Patterson began to lecture Grant, instructing him, according to both Grant's recollection and Stanley's, "I already sent you an order in this case. The order has been mailed to your offices. You are not to mention the Constitution during this proceeding. Do you understand?"
Grant replied that he did not.
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