Friday, April 24, 2009
I don't want to judge, um, a judge when it comes to typos because I've been known to make a few myself but this one is a real boner. A Michigan trial judge forgot to include a "not guilty" option on the verdict form given to the jury which not-so-surprisingly resulted in a guilty verdict for the defendant on his manslaughter charge. The prosecutor, the defendant's lawyer and jury foreman all caught the mistake during deliberations but the judge declined to issue a new verdict form. A Michigan appellate court this week overturned the verdict due to the judge's error but think of the poor defendant who had to cool his heels in prison while this case worked its way through the system all due to the apparent obstreperousness of the trial judge.
Actually, the case raises some interesting double-jeopardy issues given that the verdict form was correct with respect to the other crimes the defendant had been charged with (and for which he was found innocent) and thus he cannot be retried for those matters.
You can read the full story here.
Hat tip to the National Law Journal.
I am the scholarship dude.