Jurors confused about deliberation instructions


PEORIA COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — The jury in the sentencing phase of Brendt Christensen’s trial continues deliberating after going over evidence for three hours Wednesday. They started at 9 am, Thursday.

Court reconvened without the jury since there seemed to be more confusion over their instructions. On a note to the judge, they asked what their assessment of mitigating factors can be used for, writing “i.e. appeals.” The note was signed by a juror other than the foreperson.

The judge and both legal teams hashed out a response:

You should not consider any potential appeal or proceeding other than the sentencing matter before you in this case. As part of the instructions, you were asked, but not required, to report the total number of jurors influenced by a mitigating factor based on a preponderance of the evidence.”

Assistant federal defender Elisabeth Pollock was concerned jurors were thinking about either an appeal or whatever consequences their decision might have down the line. All parties agreed their only concern should be the sentencing issue at hand.

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