What happens when a jury can not reach a decision about the verdict?

04/25/2007 - Courts - State: TX #3313

Full Question:

There is an Order or Instruction that a Judge can give the Jury in a criminal trial when they cannot come to an agreement on the verdict (hung jury) which spells out the Jury's obligation to come to a verdict. What is that order/instruction called?

Answer:

It is called an "Allen charge". In Allen v. United States, 164 U.S. 492 (1986), the Supreme Court approved instructions that urged a deadlocked jury to continue deliberating and advised jurors in the minority to listen to the majority's arguments and then consider whether their own views were reasonable under the circumstances.

The instructions in Allen included the statement that "the verdict must be the verdict of each individual juror, and not a mere acquiescence in the conclusion of his fellows" and that it was the jury's duty to "decide the case if they could conscientiously do so."



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04/25/2007 - Category: Courts - State: TX #3313

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