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California Jury Instruction in Sexually Violent Predator Trial Affirmed

George Whaley, a California state prisoner, was civilly committed under the state Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA). At a trial to extend his commitment for two years, the jury was deadlocked. The judge suggested that they role play, with the dissenters presenting the majority's position and vice-versa, to get a better understanding of each other's arguments. The jury committed Whaley and he appealed.

The Court of Appeal of the State of California, 6th Appellate District, found that the trial court's suggestion that jurors role play each other's positions didn't cause them to "abandon a focus on the evidence as a basis of their verdict." Whaley's appeal was thus dismissed. See: California v. Whaley, 152 Cal.App.4th 968, 62 Cal.Rptr.3d 11 (Cal.App. 6 Dist., 2007), review denied.

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Related legal case

California v. Whaley