Question inspired by Yakuza Judgement.

Carl, the huge rich criminal, is on trial for a murder he obviously committed. But during the trial, he looks at the 12 jurors and says

"if you let me go, I will donate 100 million dollars to the Red Cross. What's more important: me being in jail, or 100 million dollars to charity?"

Clearly, at least one of the jurors might resonate with this point, and refuse to say Carl is guilty. So what is supposed to happen in this case?

Btw, please don't focus on the "letter" of my question, but instead, focus on the "intent" of my question. Maybe Carl's money gets impounded, I don't know. The point is, Carl's arrest does more harm to the world than actually letting him be free.

P.S.: For those curious, in the actual game: Carl is on the brink of curing Alzheimer's, but commits a crime. But what if Carl brings up the fact that putting him in jail means millions of people suffer/die from Alzheimer's?

Edit: to be clear, no actual bribery is going on. Carl isn't saying "I'll give you $100 if you let me free". What's happening is Carl has so much good he can do for humanity (e.g. donate millions to charity, take care of children, cure important diseases, etc.), which he can't do if he were in jail. At which point, many jurors might consider that the world would be better off with Carl out of jail (so he could do good for the world) than in jail (solely so that Carl could suffer).

  • 4
    He can be charged with the additional crime of Attempted Jury Tampering.
    – abelenky
    Feb 23 at 23:20
  • Why bribe the jurors when you can bribe the victim? That's not even illegal, it's called a civil settlement. Feb 24 at 0:15
  • @abelenky Even if his statements are a completely true description of circumstances that he has no control over? Feb 24 at 1:41
  • Taking your edit into account, what do you ask? Will the jury let him go?
    – Greendrake
    Feb 24 at 4:58
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica Bribes are curiously ineffective with murder victims.
    – bdb484
    Feb 24 at 12:11

4 Answers 4


Carl may not do this, as he would be prohibited from making this argument at trial.

At trial, evidence must be relevant, meaning that it makes a fact of consequence more or less likely to be true. Because the trial is meant to determine whether Carl is or is not guilty, his promises of future philanthropy have no bearing on the matter. And even if they somehow did, Carl still would not be able to tell the jury about them because they would be blocked under Rule 403, which excludes evidence because its probative value is substantially outweighed by its risk of biasing or confusing the jury.

If Carl attempts to make these statements anyway, he risks a mistrial, which means he has to start over with with a new jury.

In some jurisdictions, Carl may, however, be permitted to make this argument during the sentencing phase, where the court can properly consider the societal effects of whatever punishment it imposes. At this point, though, it's obviously a little late for Carl, as it presumes he has been convicted.

  • If Carl wants to make this argument to the court, I think it'd be better made to the prosecutor in advance of the trial. Courts are often willing to accept a charitable donation as part of a plea deal. Some prosecutors are willing to decline to prosecute minor traffic offenses in return for a donation. Some judges will dismiss cases (in cooperation with prosecutors) for donations. This can, of course, go too far.
    – Brian
    Feb 24 at 19:00

But during the trial, he looks at the 12 jurors and says

This is where the main flaw lies in your plan. Carl cannot legally make that proposition / claim to the jury. It is true that he could suddenly blurt out the proposal, but the judge would gavel him down and instruct the jury to ignore the outburst. A defendant is only allowed to make certain kinds of claims in a specific fashion – he can offer evidence bearing on the question of guilt.

There is an industry of jury research that asks "what effect does X have on jury outcomes", based on mock trials. I am fairly certain that nobody has experimentally tested the effect of such an outburst that is so egregiously outside of the law, so I think the strongest claim we can make is that there is a slight chance that one juror might be swayed to the point of voting to acquit, and a greater chance that jurors would be annoyed at his misbehavior so that the convict him quicker. This is not because of the law, it's because of the foibles of individual ethics.

The judge would attempt to unring the bell by instructing the jurors to completely ignore the outburst.


This seriously risks a mistrial.

Where inadmissible evidence is placed before the jury and the trial judge is of the view that no corrective instruction can cure the introduction of inadmissible evidence, the trial judge has the discretion to declare a mistrial.

R. v. Hood, 2011 ONSC 1390 at para. 7


Of course

Bribery and corruption are part of the human condition - that's why they are crimes in their own right. If Carl can bribe the jury or the judge and thereby obtain an acquittal, and never get caught for doing this, then he's a free man.

However, if it ever emerges that this happened then Carl gets arrested again and tried again for the murder (and also the bribery). This is not double jeopardy because Carl's liberty was never at hazard in the first trial because of the bribe.

What if the jury just likes Carl?

In this scenario, Carl does nothing illegal to the jury, he's just a really likable guy. Well, this isn't how juries are meant to behave but jury nullification is a thing.

This is an argument used against both the death penalty and minimum mandatory sentences. A jury faced with a defendant who they know will receive a punishment greater than they feel is "fair" may choose to acquit even in the face of overwhelming evidence of guilt.

  • 2
    I don't think you properly read the whole question. This isn't about directly paying off judges or jury members. I've made edits to make this even more clear. The point is that Carl uses his charity/good deeds to hold the court hostage. E.g. Carl will only donate his life savings to Alzheimer's research if the court finds him innocent.
    – chausies
    Feb 24 at 0:25
  • In this hypothetical, the Defendant explains to the jury that is it simply a fact that his conviction will have negative effects on other people, a situation the Defendant cannot change and may even regret. That is not bribery or corruption. But it may will be illegal/improper to argue that the jury should not convict because it will have bad consequences even though they are convinced the Defendant is guilty. Feb 24 at 1:43

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