Archive | jury trial

Friday, October 11th, 2019

Internally inconsistent verdict on a single count (involving a single defendant) requires dismissal

It is long settled that inconsistency between or among counts of conviction is not a ground for dismissal. See, e.g., Dunn v. United States, 284 U.S. 390, 393 (1932); and United States v. Powell, 469 U.S. 57, 61-69 (1984). The same rule applies to jury verdicts that are inconsistent as to different defendants in a joint trial. See United States v. Dotterweich, 320 U.S. 277, 279 (1943). As the Supreme Court broadly stated in Rivera v. Harris, 454 U.S. 339, 345-46 (1981), the jury possesses “the unreviewable power [] to return a verdict of not guilty for impermissible reasons” and “[i]nconsistency in a verdict is not a sufficient reason for setting it aside.”

None of those cases, however, concerned a verdict that is internally inconsistent as to the same count and the same defendant. The Second Circuit recently encountered that situation in United States v. Janine

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Categories: charge, jury, jury charge, jury trial, verdict

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Friday, October 29th, 2010

No Angry Men

Portolatin v. Graham, No. 07-1599-pr (2d Cir. October 18, 2010) (en banc)
Earlier this year, a Second Circuit panel held that New York’s persistent felony offender (PFO) statute violated the right to a jury trial under Apprendi. See The Persistents of Apprendi, posted April 9, 2010. In this en banc opinion, authored by Judge Wesley, the full court changed course and held that the PFO scheme does not, in fact, violate Apprendi. The members of the original panel, along with Judge Pooler, dissented.
The PFO scheme provides for dramatic sentencing enhancements for certain recidivists, and those that are deemed PFO’s can be subject to a sentence far greater than statutory maximum they would otherwise face. Application of the PFO statute is a two-step process. The first step requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant has two or more qualifying prior felonies. Once this is

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Categories: Apprendi, jury trial, recidivism, Uncategorized

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