Waiting ...

The jury has been out for the better part of two days now. They are considering four charges: murder, attempted murder, assault in the first degree and criminal possession of a firearm. My client was involved in an argument that turned deadly in the kitchen of his home with his common-law wife and two of her girlfriends. He shot one women and then turned the gun on a second, shooting her twice.

At the close of business yesterday, the jury reported that they are deadlocked on two charges and that no further deliberations were likely to result in a change. Little does the jury know that their real work begins now.

It is customary in cases such as these for the court to instruct the jury to keep deliberating, to heed the honestly held views of others, and to work together. The so-called Allen charge in federal courts is an invitation to reconsider; under state law in Connecticut we call it the Chip Smith charge.

During voir dire we were careful to explain to jurors their rights. And today that explanation may matter. "Do you understand that no one in this courthouse, and that includes the judge, can ask you to change your vote simply for the sake of a unanimous verdict?" Each juror said they understood.

We are hopeful on the defense side of the aisle. We all but conceded the criminal possession count. My client fired a pistol at two women he thought were attacking him. He is a convicted felon. Felons can't have guns. There isn't much to argue about and nullification is a gift we did not ask for, not when we were asking jurors for so much already: We asked them to conclude our client was justified in killing. That is a hard, hard thing for a juror to do. We know that.

If jurors have decided two of the four counts, but are not able to agree on two, we hope it means that they have acquitted on the murder and convicted on criminal possession. Nothing else makes sense. The first shot was the killing shot. If the jury concluded the murder was unjustified it would seem simple for them to conclude that the second victim's shooting was unjustified as well.

We are hopeful, but scared. The stakes are enormous and everything in my client's life depends today on the decision of twelve strangers now locked for a couple of days in a small room. The jurors will return to this pressure cooker today, and the judge will no doubt turn up the heat by delivering the Chip Smith charge. I am glad I am not a juror.

Comments: (4)

  • Norm, my heart breaks to hear you say "relieved by...
    Norm, my heart breaks to hear you say "relieved by the no verdict in murder and attempted myrder". I know it is your job to defend people, but surely you are human and you should feel. I know that you don't believe in your heart that your client was innocent. I am not asking you to answer this question because you are going to lie and tell me you do believe that. What I would like you to do is to sit in front of a mirror and take a long hard look. You do satans work and it can't feel good. You could never have loved to be so cold and so bitter. I know you client has a mother and my heart goes out to her, but even she has to know her son is going to hell. Now my heart goes out to your mother because one day you will to. I pity you.
    Posted on September 30, 2009 at 7:50 am by Anonymous
  • I was upset to lose the assault charge. No questi...
    I was upset to lose the assault charge. No question about it. Relieved by the no verdict in murder and attempted murder. Thanks for reading .
    Posted on September 26, 2009 at 2:38 am by Norm Pattis
  • Found you on facebook holding your birdie. Your a ...
    Found you on facebook holding your birdie. Your a liar like your client. Norm how does it feel to loss again.... You were pretty upset.....
    Posted on September 26, 2009 at 2:33 am by Anonymous
  • you suck that viagra dick.
    yeah that cant get har...
    you suck that viagra dick.
    yeah that cant get hard dick you fag
    8====D~~ O: (<=you sucking old man dick)
    Posted on September 25, 2009 at 5:51 pm by Anonymous

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