Trials Posts

Second Circuit to Decide on Jury Nullification

Nullifying Nullification: Will the Second Circuit Prohibit a Defendant’s Jury Nullification Defense?: (“A petition for a writ of mandamus currently pending before the Second Circuit has reignited an ancient debate over jury nullification—specifically, whether a jury may ever be informed of its power to nullify. In United States v. Manzano, the government has asked the Court of Appeals to command District of Connecticut Judge Stefan Underhill to: (1) bar defense counsel from arguing for jury nullification; and (2) preclude any mention of the applicable mandatory minimum sentences, which mention might itself prompt the jury to nullify.”)

Judge Jails Hedge Fund Founder

Platinum Partners founder Mark Nordlicht Jailed for Intimidating Prosecutor During Federal Trial: (“A federal judge in Brooklyn jailed the founder of defunct hedge fund Platinum Partners after government lawyers said he accosted a prosecutor during a break in his trial. * * * Mark Nordlicht, Platinum’s founder and former chief investment officer, is on trial for allegedly defrauding investors. Federal prosecutors have accused Mr. Nordlicht and others of faking the firm’s performance figures to collect a hefty cut of all investment gains. Mr. Nordlicht has pleaded not guilty.”)

Innocent Defendants Plead Guilty to Avoid Longer Prison Sentences After Trial

Are Innocent People Pleading Guilty? A New Report Says Yes: (“Defendants in federal cases face life changing choices once they have been charged, plead guilty and take a less severe penalty, or exercise their right to a trial and risk years (decades) in prison.  It is no wonder that some have pondered whether innocent people are pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit. * * * A new paper published by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) “The Trial Penalty: The Sixth Amendment Right to Trial on the Verge of Extinction and How to Save It.”  We may not know every amendment to the Constitution, but we all embrace the fact that in the U.S. everyone is entitled to a fair trial by a jury of our peers.  However, going to trial can be a gamble with one’s life.  One conclusion reached by the NACDL was that ‘[t]here is ample evidence that federal criminal defendants are being coerced to plead guilty because the penalty for exercising their constitutional rights is simply too high to risk.’“)

Former NY State Assembly Speaker Convicted for Second Time

Sheldon Silver Is Convicted in Second Corruption Trial: “Sheldon Silver, the former powerful Democratic speaker of the New York State Assembly, was found guilty of federal corruption charges on Friday, less than a year after his first conviction on the same charges was thrown out.”

Too “Woke” for the Jury Box?

How Movement Moments Complicate Jury Selection: (“Constitutional law requires that jurors be impartial. They must fairly evaluate evidence and wait until the end of the trial to decide on a defendant’s guilt in a criminal case. That’s easier said than done, especially of late.”)

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