Brief filed: 07/31/2020
Manzano v. United States
United States Supreme Court; Case No. 19-1447
Decision below 945 F.3d 616 (2ndCir. Dec. 18, 2019)
The independence of citizen juries is a well-established and crucial feature of our legal and constitutional history. The District Court’s openness to permitting evidence and argument as to the consequences of a conviction is a reasonable exercise of the court’s discretion not subject to control by mandamus. The District Court’s provisional decisions thoughtfully harmonize different threads of modern case law, respecting the jury’s traditional authority to issue conscientious acquittals while still operating within the strictures of precedent. Permitting a jury to hear evidence about the consequences of conviction is especially reasonable in a case with a severe and surprising mandatory minimum. Protecting jury independence is all the more important given the vanishingly small role that jury trials play in our criminal justice system.
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