Weinstein Tosses Child Porn Charge for Failure to Tell Jury of Mandatory Minimum Sentence:
When I was in law school, several of my professors expressed their admiration of District Judge (and former Columbia lawprof) Jack Weinstein for his notable "judicial creativity." In light of that, I was interested in this story:
In a decision that turns hundreds of years of legal precedent on its head, a judge ruled yesterday that juries should be made aware of "harsh mandatory minimum" sentencing rules in certain cases. Maverick Brooklyn federal Judge Jack Weinstein issued the ruling in a child-porn case over which he presided - chastising himself for not telling the jury that the defendant faced a minimum five-year sentence before it found him guilty.Presumably this will be reversed readily in light of cases like Shannon v. United States, 512 U.S. 573 (1994) and United States v. Pabon-Cruz, 391 F.3d 86 (2d Cir. 2004). But I haven't read the opinion yet. Hat tip: Doug Berman.
The drastic ruling says juries should be told what sentences certain criminals face, especially if the prison terms are particularly long. It attempts to reverse the long-standing rule that jurors not be given sentencing information so they can decide guilt or innocence, without letting the potential punishment color their thinking.
Related Posts (on one page):
- Polizzi, the Role of Judges, and the Role of Juries:
- Thoughts on United States v. Polizzi:
- Weinstein Tosses Child Porn Charge for Failure to Tell Jury of Mandatory Minimum Sentence: