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Deliberations, Interrupted

ADR Prof Blog by Andrea Schneider, Michael Moffitt, Sarah Cole,Art Hinshaw, Jill Gross and Cynthia Alkon.

Last week, the Washington Supreme Court reversed a conviction in State v Lamar on the grounds that jury deliberations must be “full and complete.” The StoelRives blog noticeofappeal.org summarizes the case this way:

In State v. Lamar, the trial court reconstituted the jury with an alternate midway through deliberations after one of the original jurors became ill. The trial court did not instruct the reconstituted jury to begin deliberations on all aspects of the case anew but, rather, directed the 11 original jurors to bring the alternate “up to speed” and resume deliberations from that point. Even though Lamar did not object to this instruction at trial and all members of the reconstituted jury reported that they voted to convict when polled, the Supreme Court reversed, holding that the failure to issue a new deliberation instruction was a manifest error affecting a constitutional right and that prejudice was presumed because inherent in the right to a unanimous jury verdict is the right to have a verdict based on full and complete deliberation. The trial court’s instruction, which the jury was presumed to follow, directed otherwise. Accordingly, there was no assurance that the verdict was based on required deliberation.

My interest in the case is not so much from the jury deliberation perspective or the constitutional rights presumed to attach to the role of juries (although both are interesting). Instead, the case makes me wonder what we know (and mostly don’t know) about the impacts of adding new parties to negotiations.

                        author

Michael Moffitt

Michael Moffitt is the Dean for University of Oregon School of Law, Orlando J. and Marian H. Hollis Professor of Law, and Associate Director, ADR Center.  Before joining the Oregon law faculty in 2001, Michael Moffitt served as the clinical supervisor for the mediation program at Harvard Law School and taught negotiation at… MORE >

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