Monday, September 29, 2008


The Joe Cool jury says it can't reach a verdict: "As a jury we feel stuck in the sand and no hope or expectation that we will be able to move to consensus one way or the other."

Judge Huck read them the Allen charge:

I'm going to ask that you continue your deliberations in an effort
to reach agreement upon a verdict and dispose of this case; and I have
a few additional comments I would like for you to consider as you do so.
This is an important case. The trial has been expensive in time,
effort, money and emotional strain to both the defense and the
prosecution. If you should fail to agree upon a verdict, the case will be
left open and may have to be tried again. Obviously, another trial would
only serve to increase the cost to both sides, and there is no reason to
believe that the case can be tried again by either side any better or
more exhaustively than it has been tried before you.
Any future jury must be selected in the same manner and from the
same source as you were chosen, and there is no reason to believe that
the case could ever be submitted to twelve men and women more
conscientious, more impartial, or more competent to decide it, or that
more or clearer evidence could be produced.
If a substantial majority of your number are in favor of a
conviction, those of you who disagree should reconsider whether your
doubt is a reasonable one since it appears to make no effective
impression upon the minds of the others. On the other hand, if a
majority or even a lesser number of you are in favor of an acquittal, the
rest of you should ask yourselves again, and most thoughtfully, whether
you should accept the weight and sufficiency of evidence which fails to
convince your fellow jurors beyond a reasonable doubt.
Remember at all times that no juror is expected to give up an
honest belief he or she may have as to the weight or effect of the
evidence; but, after full deliberation and consideration of the evidence
in the case, it is your duty to agree upon a verdict if you can do so.
You must also remember that if the evidence in the case fails to
establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the Defendant should have
your unanimous verdict of Not Guilty.
You may be as leisurely in your deliberations as the occasion may
require and should take all the time which you may feel is necessary.
I will ask now that you retire once again and continue your
deliberations with these additional comments in mind to be applied, of
course, in conjunction with all of the other instructions I have previously
given to you.


Anonymous said...

Always interesting to see the hypocrisy in federal criminal law. The Allen charge is full of comments about the "cost" of the trial, yet the "cost" of incarceration is not relevant to sentencing.


Anonymous said...

I don't really agree with the "cost" language in the Allen charge, but surely you are not saying that incarceration should somehow be gaged by costs as opposed to the punishment fitting the crime? . . .