5 Trial Judges J. 1 (1966)

handle is hein.journals/judgej5 and id is 1 raw text is: JANUARY, 1966

Vol. 5. No. 1

nfr ato  Ex ha g  of  th 0Iaio a  Conference  o S t e  Tra  Judgs

Pattern Instructions Perfected
Supreme Court, Mineola, New York
In the last few years the movement begun some
thirty years ago in California by Judge William J.
Palmer has butgeoned. Pattern juiy tnstimctions waw
exist in at least fifteen states and are in course of prep-
aration in about fifteen more. This
article sketches the process by
which New York Pattern Jury
Instructions-Civil was prepared.
The work was undertaken by
a committee of the Association of
Supreme Court Justices consisting
of the writer as Chairman, and
Justices Frederic T. Henry, G.
Robert Witmer, William B. Law-
Sudse Se-a,  S. Me,,  less and M. Henry Martuscello.
The Judicial Conference provided
the services of Professor Peter W. Thornton of Brooklyn
Law School as Reporter and also underwrote the travel
expenses of Committee members to monthly meetings.
Though the Committee was limited in size, care was
taken to see that its work was reviewed by a number of
others. Coordinating committees of United States District
Judges, County Court Judges, Surrogates Court Judges
and New York City Civil Court judges were established
and charges that had been tentatively approved by the
parent committee were sent to them for review.
The process produced some unexpected bonuses,
one being the federal annotation which appears at the
end of the comment to a number of charges in order to
point up variances of federal from state laws. The State
Reporter also reviewed the Committee's work for aptness
and correctness of citation, and made valuable sugges-
tions on editorial content.
Underlying the work was the concept that the jury
should be told in everyday language what they were
called up to decide and the steps to be followed in ar-
riving at a verdict, and that the judge should be pro-
vided, to the fullest extent possible, with answers to the
practical problems most often arising in the type of
case dealt with by the charge. To this end each bl-ack
letter charge is followed by a comment in regular type.
(Continued on page 20)
* Member of Executive Committee, National Conference of
State Trial Judges.

Circuit Court, Detroit
Even thomgh the cause and cuve 4 crme is a tela-
tively recent concern of our nation, it is one of the
most important, and the criminal sentence is pivotal
in this entire field. There is no question but that in-
formed and intelligent criminal sentencing is one of
the proven tools for the rehabilitation of the criminal
It should be recalled that 94 percent of all persons
sentenced to prison eventually come out and resume life
in normal society. For the vast majority of those who
were in difficulty with the law there is real hope of
What can we do about dis-
parity of sentences at the trial
court level? All of us know this
is one of our most difficult prob-
lems and one that causes the
greatest difficulty in terms of reha-
bilitation. The United States Dis-
trict Court of the Eastern District
of Michigan has solved the prob-
Judge Horace W. Gilmore  lem of disproportionate sentencing
through the use of a sentencing
The council works with the eight judges of that
court in this way:
The judges meet in panels of three, each of the
judges having been supplied with the probation report
five days before the meeting.
In addition, each judge is given a sentencing coun-
cil study sheet which provides for the judge a distillation
of the pertinent facts involved.
One judge will call his first case, stating the name
of the offender and give a brief statement of the offense.
He will then state to his brother judges the factors
which he believes to be controlling and make a recom-
mendation. Each of the other two judges will in turn
do the same thing vith each case and state his yeccm-
mended sentence.
(Continued on page 17)
*Cordensed from talk at 1965 Annuol Meeting, Natioiial
Conference of State Trial Judges.

Trial Judges'Journal

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