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Seneca admonishes judges and jurors not to act out of anger

Sep 27, 2013 Seneca admonishes judges and jurors not to act out of anger

Where I practice criminal defense, judges ordinarily sentence convicted misdemeanor defendants immediately after being found guilty — after a sentencing hearing — and, in Virginia (and death penalty cases everywhere in the United States), jurors, after a sentencing hearing, recommend a sentence.

What happened to a cooling off period, at least in a felony assault or other particularly ugly case, for judges and jurors first to cool off before announcing a sentence, let alone before pronouncing a verdict? How can we expect the horrifying photos of a murder victim that are introduced into evidence not to cloud jurors’ deliberations?

Thanks to the brilliant and ever-amusing Robert Thurman (Uma’s dad) for letting me know that none other than the great political philosopher Seneca urged way back when that judges not sentence out of anger. Judges, that is not just myself talking, but also Seneca himself.

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