North Carolina death row inmate Todd Charles Boggess was awarded a new trial by the North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday. According to the Supreme Court, there were problems with Boggess's jury from day one when the lower court allowed a juror on the panel who knew the victim's mother to remain. In addition, the Supreme Court found error with a jury instruction which implied to the jury that if they chose life in prison, Boggess might be paroled at some point. In North Carolina, a life prison term for a convicted first degree murder is automatically life without possibility of parole. This jury instruction issue is VERY similar to the issue which the New York Court of Appeals found improper. The instruction was different, but essentially, the effect was the same: the jury may be choosing death because they fear if they don't the defendant will someday be released on parole.
Man on death row gets new trial