EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Allen Charge Project: Colorado

Wikipedia lists Colorado as one of the states where the Allen Charge has been rejected in whole or in part. The key case here is Taylor v. People, 490 P.2d 292 (Colo. 1971).

In Taylor, Benjamin Taylor was charged with assault with intent to murder.

The case was submitted to the jury in the morning and on the afternoon of the second day the jury advised the court that it was deadlocked. The court gave the jury an additional instruction, sometimes known as the ‘Allen charge.’ The following morning the jury returned a verdict of guilty.

Based on prior Colorado precedent, the Supreme Court of Colorado found no error with the giving of this Allen charge, but it noted that 

this court issued an order on September 22, 1971, directing trial courts not to use the ‘Allen charge’ after the date of such order.

Specifically, that order replaced the Allen charge with what the Colorado courts now call the modified Allen instruction, which is taken from Standard 15–4.4 of the American Bar Association Standards for Criminal Justice Relating to Trial by Jury, and allows a judge to instruct a jury that

“1) Jurors have a duty to consult with one another and to deliberate with a view to reaching an agreement if it can be done without violence to individual judgment;

“2) Each juror must decide the case for himself, but only after impartial consideration with his fellow jurors;

 “3) In the course of deliberation, a juror should not hesitate to re-examine his own views and change his opinion if convinced it is erroneous; and

“4) No juror should surrender his honest conviction as to the weight and effect of the acts solely because of the opinion of his fellow jurors or for the mere purpose of returning a verdict.



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