5th Circ. Adds To Split On Review Of Jury Instruction Errors
By Andrew Goldsmith (February 21, 2018, 3:37 PM EST) -- The Fifth Circuit added last month to a circuit split on how to assess the prejudice caused by erroneous jury instructions on a criminal defendant's principal trial theory when the defendant challenges the instructions for the first time on appeal.
The majority in United States v. Fairley vacated Kenneth Fairley's convictions for theft of government property because the district court misstated the element of the crime on which Fairley "built his defense." But a dissenter argued that Fairley's defense theory would have succeeded even under the instructions as given, if the jury had accepted the theory. By convicting him the jury...
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