The defendant uttered a loud groan and collapsed into the 수원오피 arms of the court attendant beside him.

"Of justifiable homicide," hastily added the inexperienced foreman. In spite of the laughter of the rest of the jurymen and the smiles of the court it took some moments to convince the unnerved prisoner that he was not to be electrocuted.

In a recent case the jury returned a verdict of "Pretty nearly guilty!"

A very considerable proportion of jury trials in criminal cases result in disagreements. The question of reasonable doubt is always a troublesome one, and even where all the jury believe the defendant guilty, as likely as not half of them will not think that they are convinced beyond what they regard as a reasonable doubt. On this account many jurors are of the opinion that what is known as a Scotch verdict, or a verdict of "Not proven," should be allowed. The writer has been informed on good authority that in one of the recent trials of[Pg 245] Nan Patterson eleven of the twelve jurymen believed her guilty, but that only six of them were of the opinion that they were so convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. Had the Scotch verdict been permissible it would probably have been rendered in this case. Inasmuch as the ordinary American petit jury are apt to go outside the evidence and to decide the issue, in some degree at least, on evidence which properly they should not consider at all, no further loopholes of escape from rendering a verdict one way or the other should be afforded them. Had we the Scotch verdict, instead of disagreeing and giving the prosecution the opportunity to try the defendant over again, juries would probably make use of it in all cases where they disliked to render a verdict in accordance with the evidence.

Juries frequently incorporate with the verdict of guilty the words "with a recommendation to mercy." Of course this is no part of the verdict and has no legal effect whatever. It is merely a formal expression of opinion that in the eyes of the jury it would be well for the court to treat the defendant with leniency. The judge usually comments upon this recommendation and intimates that he will give it consideration in imposing sentence. It is not likely, however, that in any case which has appealed to the sympathies of the jury the court will not be equally moved. In point of fact, did juries fix the sentence in cases where they found the defendant guilty it is exceedingly probable that they would be much more severe than the bench. Most jurors, however, are under the impression that "a recommendation to mercy" is an integral part of their verdict and it frequently does yeoman's[Pg 246] service by inducing a juror or two who have a lingering feeling that perhaps the crime has not been as fully proven as it might have been, or that maybe the defendant is not guilty after all or should be given another chance, to agree with the majority of their fellows. The writer had one panel of jurors in the General Sessions which, having returned a verdict of guilty "with a recommendation to mercy" in the first case tried during the month, affixed the same recommendation to each verdict which they rendered thereafter. It is his impression that they convicted every prisoner who came before them, so that the recommendation must in many cases have seemed to the hapless defendant but a hollow mockery. There is even a traditional case where a jury in a murder trial found the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree, "with a strong recommendation to the mercy of the court."

Verdicts of murder in the first degree are comparatively rare and are, practically, only to be expected when the circumstances surrounding the crime are peculiarly atrocious. It is also a well-known fact that juries rarely find a verdict in a degree of crime higher than the one for which the majority vote upon the first ballot. For example, if on the first ballot the jury stands five for murder in the first degree, six for murder in the second degree and one for manslaughter only a miracle could account for a final verdict of murder in the first degree. In other words, a jury will almost never work up their verdict, argument invariably tending to work them down to a lesser degree. Most cases of what is technically murder in the first degree result in verdicts of murder in the second degree, and[Pg 247] most cases of murder in the second degree result in verdicts of manslaughter.

The jury having rendered a verdict of conviction, say of 수원오피 murder in the first degree, there remains to counsel but one last act which he can perform in his client's behalf, namely, to demand that the jury be polled. This must be done upon the requirement of either the defendant or the People, in which case, "they must be severally asked whether it is their verdict; and if any one answer in the negative, the jury must be sent out for further deliberation." The writer has never heard of a jury which, on being polled, showed a disagreement. It is not unusual, however, as the roll is called to see various members of the jury look apprehensively towards one of their number who has evidently put up in the jury-room a hard fight for a lesser degree and may be "of the same opinion still." A prosecutor always breathes more freely when the ordeal is over, and probably experiences during the process very much the same kind of emotion as that felt by the bride-groom at the altar as he listens apprehensively at the conclusion of the clergyman's announcement that "if any one has any just cause, etc., let him now speak or forever hold his peace."

Defendants who are convicted rarely show any emotion when receiving the verdict. This is of course to be expected, as the defendant, if guilty, has probably been anticipating that he will be so found by the jury, and has steeled himself for the occasion, while an innocent man is practically never convicted. Hundreds of defendants, however, who confidently expect to be convicted, are acquitted through the leniency of the jury. Their[Pg 248] exclamations of gratification and joy upon such occasions are frequently most amusing. Such a defendant not seldom thanks the court and the jury for their kindness, and in some cases his thanks are certainly due to those who have violated the letter and spirit of their oaths in acquitting him. The writer recalls one old colored mammy who, on being acquitted of stealing some wash which had been confided to her care, curtsied in all directions and remarked, "Ah t'anks your honor, an' Ah t'anks your Honors, gen'lemen ob de jury, one an' all." An Irishman, who had been but a few weeks in this country, and who had been acquitted on the charge of stealing a truck and horse which had been left in his charge, on learning of his acquittal invited the jury collectively in a loud voice to come across the street and have a drink.

Before the jury is discharged, however, and the prisoner remanded to the Tombs for sentence, he is required to answer certain questions relative to his age, parentage, education, previous convictions, etc. If the spectator is fortunate enough to be able to forget the solemnity of what has taken place, he may well be entertained, not only at the answers given by the defendant, but at the method of conducting the examination by the court officer. The clerk takes the indictment and, with a large rubber die, stamps upon it the statement that the defendant, on being arraigned, made answer to the questions put to him, as follows:
Of course, the court officer who repeats the prisoner's answers to the clerk is usually so familiar with the order of the questions as to render any vocal action upon the part of the clerk unnecessary. The officer stands by the prisoner and, leaning over, asks in a low tone how old he is, if his parents are living, if he is addicted to the use of liquor, if he has had any religious instruction, or if he has been previously convicted of crime. It is really the officer to whom the defendant makes his replies, the former repeating them in a loud voice to the clerk. In some courts the clerk does not put the questions at all, but the officer merely gives in their order the answers of the defendant. For example, in Part II, upon the rendition of a verdict one will see Mr. Samuel Wolff, the clerk, stamp the indictment, dip his pen in the ink, turn to the officer of the court and say, "All ready?"

The officer answers, "Yes."

A subdued conversation then takes place between the prisoner and the officer, who raises his voice and answers:

"Twenty-nine;—U.S.—No;—None;—Single—Yes;—No.—" All of which answers are properly recorded opposite the appropriate questions upon the indictment.

All this is a little startling to the juror who has rendered his first verdict. He has no idea at all of what is going on. The officer returns, if possible, a[Pg 250] categorical reply to each question, but frequently prisoners make statements which are of course irrelevant in character and are not incorporated in the answer. At times it requires quite a little cross-examining on the part of the officer to determine whether or not the defendant is temperate or intemperate, or whether he has really ever been convicted of crime theretofore. Any one who could overhear these colloquies would be well repaid for his trouble. The writer knows of one officer of a somewhat waggish disposition who, when he approaches the interrogation directed towards the prisoner's usual habits, first 수원오피 puts the question in its proper form:

"Are you temperate or intemperate?"

The prisoner, who perhaps does not understand these terms, or, at any rate, is a little doubtful himself as to his usual condition, stammers and hesitates. The officer, dropping his voice, remarks, confidentially:

"Say, do you ever take a drink?"

"Sure," says the defendant, without hesitation.

"Moderate," shouts the officer to the clerk.