Kate H. Nepveu


"Special verdicts are generally disfavored in criminal trials." This statement appears so often in judicial discussions of jury verdicts, it is nearly a platitude. The reason for the disfavor is quite simple: A true special verdict is one where the jury does not render a general verdict of guilty or not guilty, but simply finds certain facts and leaves the rest to the court. True special verdicts are almost never used in criminal cases, because by taking away the jury's power to render a verdict, they violate the Sixth Amendment "right to have a jury make the ultimate determination of guilt" -leading directly to the sentiment behind the opening quotation.

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