- Associated Press - Thursday, December 27, 2018

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey appeals court has held that deliberating jurors can hear readbacks or playbacks of closing arguments.

The court wrote Thursday that it’s the first time the issue has been addressed in a published state appellate ruling.

The case involved a defendant convicted of various drug offenses. During trial deliberations, jurors requested that defense counsel’s closing argument be played back.

The trial judge denied the request, ruling that closing arguments aren’t considered evidence. The defendant appealed his conviction and argued the judge’s ruling was mistaken.

The appeals court ruled Thursday that while the judge’s decision didn’t deprive the defendant of a fair trial, juries should be allowed to rehear or re-read closing arguments based on the judge’s discretion.

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