In response to:
Twelve Angry Persons from the September 21, 1995 issue
My article on the jury system [NYR, September 21] should not have said that the death penalty was mandatory in the case against the Menendez brothers. In California the state can seek the death penalty only in special circumstances, and it is not mandatory on conviction. The prosecution in the Menendez case is asking for the death penalty for both brothers on the grounds that they committed multiple murder. If there is a guilty verdict, the same jury that voted for conviction would vote again on the death penalty. (In the Simpson case, the prosecution has said it will not ask for the death penalty.)
In describing my own experience, moreover, I should have said the preliminary outcome of the balloting in a murder case was 8–4, not 9–4, which would have been impossible.
October 5, 1995