STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. JOHN N. MAHONEY A-5320-14T4We granted leave to appeal from an order denying the State's motion to preclude two deliberating jurors from addressing the court at defendant's sentencing hearing. We reversed and remanded for sentencing without input from the jurors.
We held that a judge may not consider for sentencing purposes any comments from a deliberating juror to identify applicable aggravating or mitigating factors set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1(a) and (b). Consequently, deliberating jurors are precluded from participating at a defendant's sentencing
proceeding. To allow juror participation would unnecessarily create a substantial risk of distracting the jurors from their primary purpose – serving as judges of the facts – and would indubitably undermine the sanctity of the jury's deliberative process in our system of jurisprudence.