On Wednesday, the Second Circuit issued an opinion on an interesting question of trial practice and procedure: Is it permissible for the jury in a criminal case to take the indictment home to read on their own time? In U.S. v. Esso (via WSJ Law Blog and the New York Law Journal), a case alleging a mortgage fraud scheme, jury deliberations began on Aug. 25, 2010, at about 3:20 p.m. At 4:25 p.m., the jury informed the court that it planned to leave at 4:30 p.m., and asked whether they could take the indictment home to "carefully read." The defendant's attorney opposed this request, arguing that reading the indictment at home is "akin to deliberating" and "akin to asking to take exhibits home," and also that the indictment "serves as the government summation." The government did not object to allowing the jury to take the indictment home provided that the jury was instructed not to discuss the indictment with family members or to deliberate outside the jury room. The district court decided that the jury could take the indictment home, telling them it was "the same thing as reading it here in the jury room tomorrow morning at ten, it...

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