Does anybody else wonder about giving a jury a charge about parole and telling them they must not consider the effects of parole on the defendant?
Or instructing the jury not to consider the defendant's failure to testify!
Better than the days when any mention of parole was likely to get a case reversed. The instruction really isn't all that bad. It gives them some truthful information about how sentences are actually served but advises them not to try and guess how it will actually be applied to a particular defendant.
The instruction is certainly confusing but it is better than letting the jury think that a defendant will actually serve the number of years given by the jury. I think it is probably a common misconception that if a person is sentenced to ten years, they will actually serve ten years (or close to it).
In reality, we are starting to see people serving one year on a ten year sentence. Personally, I think a jury should know that if they give a defendant ten years he might be out in one.
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