Originally Posted by lawyerdad
I assume you mean give paraphrased answers rather than just reading back the testimony? That would be a bit weird.
Letting jurors take demonstrative exhibits into the jury room is not that unusual, although I agree with you that it really shouldn't happen (at least I infer that's your view). It happened in a case where I served as a juror. Although I generally tried to avoid getting into the position of explaining the law to the other jurors, I had to argue vigorously with one moronic woman who basically believed (or at least argued) that because the prosecution's demonstrative showed a little blue stick figure policeman doing X, and a little red stick figure bad guy doing Y, we had to accept that as evidence of what actually happened.
Paraphrased answers would be completely out of the question, at least in my state. I'm not so sure about transcribed testimony, but I tend to think it could be error, since the court isn't supposed to comment on specific evidence in its instructions and answers to jury questions are regarded as supplemental instructions. Hell, most of the judges 'round these parts won't even let jurors take notes.
I know theoretically the court can (and maybe even should) give supplemental instructions on the law, and it gets a deferential review of it in theory; but in practice it seems to generate enough reversals that courts I'm familiar with just don't do it.