During the deliberation of a jury in a murder prosecution, the jury foreman requested information concerning the granting of paroles and pardons. The court responded by reading and discussing the pardon and parole board’s published rules and regulations concerning the granting of paroles and pardons. The jury thereafter returned a verdict of guilty without a sentence recommendation. Held: It was erroneous for the trial court to read and discuss, at the request of the jury, the published rules and regulations concerning the granting of paroles and pardons; but such error was waived when the accused failed to raise an objection.
This decision is of interest for it presents questions which have long plagued the American judiciary. Should a jury, faced with the task of determining a defendant’s guilt and of imposing or recommending his punishment, be entitled to instructions as to the possibility of executive interference with the sentence by way of pardon, parole, or time off for good behavior? And if so, should it be allowed to take this information into consideration in its deliberation on the verdict or sentence recommendation?
Robert E. Roeder,
Criminal Law—Trial—Instructions from the Court Concerning Possible Pardon or Parole of the Accused,
34 Neb. L. Rev. 724
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