An annual campaign presented by Mothers Against Drunk Driving caused some concern within Pima County's Justice and Superior courts Tuesday.

MADD members spent the day next to the courthouses handing out ribbons as part of their Tie One on for Safety campaign, which aims to get people to use designated drivers during the holiday season.

At least two judges, Justice of the Peace Jack Peyton and Superior Court Judge Ted Borek, were presiding over driving-under-the-influence trials Tuesday and were forced to question jurors to see if they were tainted by the display. The jurors were asked if they saw the display, which included a crushed car and photos of DUI victims, if they spoke with anyone about it, and if they were swayed in any way.

The trials continued uninterrupted after only a handful of the jurors said they saw the car but weren't influenced by it.

Defense attorney James Nesci said the display was a "blatant attempt" to influence the judicial system, noting MADD could have held the event anywhere, anytime.

"They have a First Amendment right to protest, but that right ends where the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial begins," Nesci said.

Theresa Babich, a victim advocate with MADD, said Presidio Park was chosen because of its heavy foot traffic, not because jurors were around.

"We weren't out soliciting anyone specifically," Babich said.

● Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or