Conviction Reversed Due to Judge’s Mischaracterization of Jury Note
April 2, 2014
During deliberations in this weapon possession case, the jury sent a note to the court that suggested the jury believed that proof beyond a reasonable doubt of only one element of the crime could support a guilty verdict. The judge not only failed to read the note verbatim before responding to it, but also mischaracterized it so that counsel never learned of the jury’s possible misunderstanding of the law. The judge then failed to address the jury’s misunderstanding when providing the jury an answer to the note.
The Appellate Division reversed the conviction and ordered a new trial.
Jonathan M Kratter briefed and argued the case.