Conviction Reversed Because of Jury ''Confusion'' As to a Certain Word's Meaning
In People v. Landwer, 279 Ill. App. 3d 306, 316, 664 N.E.2d 677, 684, 216 Ill. Dec. 40 (1996) the jury asked for a definition of the word "originated" which appeared in a jury instruction explaining the defense of entrapment.
The court refused to define "originated," and the defendant was found guilty.
On appeal the court reversed, reasoning that the jury's question was one of law, and that the record indicated that the jury was confused as to the word's meaning.
The court further reasoned that because the jury's understanding of "originated" was key to their understanding of the law of entrapment (which was the defendant's only viable defense) the error was not harmless.