No Error Telling Jurors They’re Not on a Death Penalty Case

State v. Pierce / State v. Bienhoff No. 96344-4 (January 9, 2020), Washington Supreme Court.

Brief: The Washington Supreme Court overruled its holding in State v. Townsend, 142 Wn.2d 838 (2001), that it is error to tell the potential jurors during jury selection that they are not being asked to sit on a death penalty case.

Translation: If during jury selection, a lawyer tells possible jurors that they are NOT being asked to sit on a death penalty case (presumably when they are), there’s no error. Therefore, a conviction cannot be overturned due to this kind of statement.

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