"It becomes too difficult, too tempting for a juror to lose their role as an impartial fact-finder and slip into the role of an advocate, and I think that's contrary to what the whole justice system is based upon," said Los Angeles-area defense attorney Mark Geragos.
"In effect, you've deputized the jurors as investigators," Geragos added.
Others, however, say the practice is a useful tool aimed at getting to the truth, and it provides attorneys a window into the deliberation room, giving them time to change strategies.
Phoenix criminal defense attorney Julio Laboy said juror questions of a witness during a case where he was representing a client charged with murder once led to prosecutors offering a deal to plead to a lesser count.
"In the end, what this is all really about is the search for truth, and any mechanism that allows jurors to get closer to the truth without prejudicing one side or the other, I think, is a good tool," Laboy said.
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