UGA law professor says delay in Nichols trial verdict may be only small, passing problem


Friday, December 12, 2008

Media Advisory

UGA law professor says delay in Nichols trial verdict may be only small, passing problem

According to nationally recognized trial law expert and University of Georgia law professor Ronald L. Carlson, the delay in the Nichols trial verdict does not necessarily suggest that the jury will remain hopelessly deadlocked.

Carlson has high praise for Judge Bodiford's shepherding of the jury through to this point, and he is hopeful the judge's gentle persuasion will bring about a decision.

"If all else fails, the judge will perhaps employ an 'Allen' or 'dynamite' jury charge, which is an instruction to the jury designed to bring about unanimity and conclude the deliberations.

"When the jury asked to hear a recording of Nichols' telephone call wherein Nichols said he should have stopped on the D.A.'s floor on the day of the killings with his gun in hand, that suggested an attitude of vengeance, not remorse.

"The jury's interest in hearing that recording again may be telling us that juror's who are in the majority are saying to the other jurors 'If we let him go without capital punishment, he might kill again.'"

As jury deliberations continue Friday afternoon, Carlson, who has attended portions of the Nichols trial, can be reached at (706) 548-6771 (home). He can also be reached next week either at home or at (706) 542-5186 (law school).

A recognized expert on evidence, trial practice and criminal procedure, Carlson is the Callaway Chair of Law Emeritus at the University of Georgia School of Law. A prodigious scholar and lecturer, Carlson has authored numerous books and scores of articles in prominent law reviews regarding these subjects. He has taught at Georgia Law since 1984 and often provides commentary for the national media in high-profile trials. For further information on Carlson, please visit http://www.law.uga.edu/academics/profiles/carlson.html .