The majority was right on this one. Until a jury has reached its verdict, any back and forth they have with the judge is just part of their deliberations.
There have been cases where juries have already decided, but asked the judge a last minute question, the answer to which changes the vote of one or more jurors, who notify the jury foreman.
Even more common, when a jury finds a defendant guilty, the defense can demand that each individual juror be polled to say, on their own, that yes, they did vote guilty. This is based on a suspicion that a juror was bullied into a verdict they disagreed with, or was just misheard by the foreman.
However, that being said, I think it was inappropriate for the prosecutor to present a whole gamut of charges for which the defendant could have been convicted for the same offense.
That is like a multiple choice question where four of the answers are “yes”, and only one is “no”. It is unbalanced in favor of conviction.
In this case, the jury unanimously agreed against capital murder, unanimously agreed against 1st degree murder, and split against manslaughter (9-3 tilted toward acquittal).
Whether this was the right verdict or wrong verdict, it is unconstitutional to retry the charges he was acquitted on, and I am astounded the supreme court is allowing it.
I agree with you that the fault here lies with the Prosecution. Pick a charge or charges and present your case! No more throwing everything at the defendant to see what sticks, because to me it comes across as you, the Prosecution, don’t really have any idea what really happened. So how are you supposed to convince a jury?
The jury acquitted the guy on the murder charge.
The judge failed to enter the verdict.
The court has green-lighted multiple trials based on a judge’s error, an error any judge could now make to justify a future retrial for any defendant the judge or The State doesn’t like.
There was a case in the Philly area about ten years ago where the jury announced they had reached a verdict and were brought back into the courtroom. When the jurors were polled one-by-one by the judge, they all said "not guilty" until they got to one guy who said, "guilty", thereby surprising everybody and throwing the court into chaos.
Apparently this was one of those cases where the killer's confession - - or maybe it was some other piece of damning evidence - - was thrown out on a slimy lawyer technicality. But everybody in the courtroom knew the guy was guilty of murder. The juror later said he just couldn't watch the killer walk free and so he changed his vote on the fly. In my opinion, that guy was a hero.
The case remained unsolved for four years.
Police arrested Ogrod in 1992, after re-interviewing him and other neighbors.
The suspect confessed to police and later to a jailhouse snitch, but he later claimed that homicide detectives coerced a statement out of him and contended that inmate Jason Banachowski made up his story.
Ogrod went to trial in 1993 and was about to be found not guilty when a juror, Alfred Szewczak, changed his mind at the last second. A mistrial was granted.
Three years later, Ogrod went on trial again. This time, a jury convicted him in less than two hours.