Now that we’ve abolished the death penalty in Connecticut, at least insofar as future cases are concerned, the fate of those currently on death row being much at issue, there is really no cause for jurors ever lawfully to consider the consequences of a guilty verdict. Why, then, are prosecutors permitted during jury selection to inquire whether potential jurors believe people should be held accountable for their actions?

The rigid division of labor in a criminal trial gives to the jury the finding of facts. The jury’s role is simple, in theory: Has the state met its burden of proof? It is a simply matter of yes or no. There is no moral dimension to the enterprise.

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