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Juror Reponsibility  |   Juror Confusion  |   Juror Bias


Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions

Members of the jury:

The evidence, information, and arguments as to this phase of the sentencing hearing have now been completed and I will now instruct you as to the law. You may follow along in your booklet as I instruct you. The law applicable to this phase of the case is stated in these instructions and it is your duty to follow all of them.

Aggravating factors may be found in any evidence presented during the trial, the first part of the death penalty hearing, or the second part of the death penalty hearing. During the first part of the death penalty hearing, you found that the State had proved that a statutory aggravating factor exists. During the second part of the death penalty hearing, the State may prove that other aggravating factors exist, but the State is not required to do so.

Mitigating factors may be found in any evidence presented during the trial, during the first part of the death penalty hearing, or during the second part of the death penalty hearing. During the second part of the death penalty hearing, the defendant may prove that mitigating factors exist, but the defendant is not required to do so.

Under the law, the defendant shall be sentenced to death if you unanimously find that there are no mitigating factors sufficient to preclude imposition of a death sentence. If you are unable to unanimously find that there are no mitigating factors sufficient to preclude imposition of a death sentence, the court will impose a sentence other than death.

In deciding whether the defendant should be sentenced to death, you should consider all the aggravating factors supported by the evidence and all the mitigating factors supported by the evidence.

Aggravating factors are reasons why the defendant should be sentenced to death. Mitigating factors are reasons why the defendant should not be sentenced to death.

Aggravating factors include:

  • One: The murdered person was intentionally killed in the course of another felony.
  • Two: Any other reason supported by the evidence why the defendant should be sentenced to
  • death.

Mitigating factors include:

  • One: That the murder was committed while the defendant was under the influence of an extreme mental or emotional disturbance, although not such as to constitute a defense to the prosecution;
  • Two: The defendant has no significant history of prior criminal activity;
  • Three: The defendant may be rehabilitated or restored to useful citizenship;
  • Four: Any other reason supported by the evidence why the defendant should not be sentenced to death.

If you unanimously find from your consideration of all the evidence that there are no mitigating factors sufficient to preclude imposition of a death sentence, then you should sign the verdict form requiring the court to sentence the defendant to death.

If you do not unanimously find from your consideration of all the evidence that there are no mitigating factors sufficient to preclude imposition of a death sentence, then you should sign the verdict requiring the court to impose a sentence other than death.

You will receive two verdict forms, A and B. These verdict forms read as follows:

A. Verdict Form Approving the Death Sentence

"We, the jury, unanimously find that there are no mitigating factors sufficient to preclude imposition of a death sentence."

Then, the court shall sentence the defendant John Woods to death.

B. Verdict Form Rejecting the Death Sentence

"We, the jury, do not unanimously find that there are no mitigating factors sufficient to preclude a death sentence."

Then, the court shall not sentence the defendant John Woods to death.