Jury Deliberations Continue in Dallas Capital Murder Case
The Jury deliberating in the punishment phase of a Capital Murder case in Dallas County was sent to their hotel last night after deliberating all day. Any criminal defense attorney will tell you that there is nothing worse than waiting on a verdict. When a jury is deliberating the lawyers no longer have control. You spend hours pacing the hall ways or sitting in the courtroom speculating on what the jury is thinking.
During deliberations jurors often send notes out to the court with questions about witness testimony or evidence heard during the trial. Jurors sometimes ask a legal question. The trial Judge is very limited as to what she can tell a jury while they are deliberating. Usually the Judge can only refer the jury back to the courts charge. Any further comment can be viewed as a comment on the evidence by the Judge.
If a jury sends a note out that they are dead locked and can not arrive at a verdict the Judge will instruct them to continue to deliberate. If the jury remains hung then at some point the criminal defense attorney will move for a mistrial. In a death penalty case like the one being tried in Dallas County a mistrial during the punishment phase will result in an automatic Life without Parole sentence.