« PreviousContinue »
MR. HAY observed to the Court, at its opening, that he had neither argument nor evidence farther to offer to the Jury on the indictment. He had examined the opinion of the Court, and must leave the case with the Jury.
The Jury accordingly retired to their chamber, and in a short time returned ; when Col. Carrington, their foreman, read the verdict, which was endorsed on the indictment as follows :
We, of the Jury, say, that Aaron Bure is Not proved to be guilty under this indictment, by any evidence submitted to us. therefore find him Nor GUILTY"
Mr. Burr. Wherever the verdict of a Jury is incorrect, in point of form, or in words, it is improper, and ought not to be placed on any record : the Jury have no right to travel out of the course the law has assigned them. I hope the Court will direct the verdict to be given in the usual way.
Mr, Hay. It certainly, and in fact, is a verdict of acquittal. The Jury have thought proper to state it in certain words; and surely the Court ought to record it in the words they themselves have used. There is no precise practice, or form, that ought to govern the Jury in making a verdict : it is the verdict of a Jury, and if the Court received it, it must be entered in their own words.
Mr. Burr. The Jury have no right to return a written verdict at all: they have no right to depart from the usual form ; the Court ought to suppress it. The Jury ought to be sent back again, and to return with an oral verdict, simply of guilty or not guilty; and if they choose to make a speech to the Court, or the audience, they have a right, if toe Court. permit them.
Mr. Martin. 'l'hey say, that they have not evidence before them to prove that he is, guilty; and, therefore, find him not guilty. This is exactly the reason why all Juries return their verdiot, because they have, or håve, not evidence. I can see no reason - for a preanble to the verdict in this particular case. Do the counsel wish to make it appear, that the Jury censure the decision of the Court, in not giving them irrelevant testimony?
Mr. Burr called for the recital of the common direction given to the Jury by the Clerk. [It was read, and ends in the following words: “ if you find him guilty, you are to say so ; if not guilty, you are to say so—and no more.”]—The Jury cannot bo indulged: they have defaced a paper belonging to the Court, by writing upon it words that they have no right to write.
Mr. Hay. If there is any effect to be obtained by an opposition to the form of this verdict, it is done: the Jury, without