EvidenceProf Blog

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

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Allen Charge Project: Iowa

They key Iowa case on the Allen Charge is State v. Campbell, 294 N.W.2d 803 (Iowa 1980).

In Campbell, Charles Campbell, Jr. was charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverage. After the jury had deliberated for about six and a half hours, they told the bailiff that they were hopelessly deadlocked. As a result, the defense moved for a mistrial, and the prosecution opposed the motion. The judge agreed with the prosecution and gave the jury the following instruction:

You have now been deliberating upon this case for a considerable period of time, and the Court deems it proper to advise you further in regard to the desirability of agreement if possible.

The case has been exhaustively and carefully tried by both sides and at considerable expense and has been submitted to you for decision and verdict, if possible, not for disagreement. It is the law that a unanimous verdict is required; and while this verdict must be the conclusion of each juror and not a mere acquiescence of the jurors in order to reach an agreement, it is still necessary for all of the jurors to examine the issues and questions submitted to them with candor and fairness and with a proper regard for, and deference to the opinion of each other. A proper regard for the judgment of others will greatly aid us in forming our own judgment.

This case must be decided by some jury selected in the same manner this jury was selected, and there is no reason to think a jury better qualified would ever be chosen. Each juror should listen to the arguments of other jurors with a disposition to be convinced by them; and if the members of the jury differ in their views of the evidence, such difference of opinion should cause them all to scrutinize the evidence more closely and to re-examine the grounds of their problem. Your duty is to decide the issues of fact which have been submitted to you, if you can conscientiously do so. In conferring you should lay aside all mere pride of opinion and should bear in mind that the jury room is no place for espousing and maintaining, in a spirit of controversy, either side of a cause. The aim ever to be kept in view is the truth as it appears from the evidence, examined in the light of the instructions of the Court.

You will again retire to your jury room and examine your differences in a spirit of fairness and candor and try to arrive at a verdict.

Later, the jury returned with a guilty verdict. On appeal, the Supreme Court of Iowa found that this instruction was not prejudicially coercive and thus did not require a new trial. That said, the court then cited II Iowa Uniform Jury Instructions No. 115 (1978), which contained the following language:

The verdict must represent the considered judgment of each juror. In order to return a verdict it is necessary that each juror agrees thereto. Your verdict must be unanimous.

It is your duty, as jurors, to consult with one another and to deliberate with the view to reaching an agreement, if you can do so without violence to individual judgment. Each of you must decide the case for yourself, but do so only after an impartial consideration of the evidence with your fellow jurors. In the course of your deliberations, do not hesitate to re-examine your own view and change your opinion if convinced it is erroneous. But do not surrender your honest convictions as to the weight or affect of the evidence solely because it is the opinion of your fellow jurors, or for the mere purpose of returning a verdict.

You are not partisans. You are judges judges of the facts. Your sole interest is to ascertain the truth.

The court then announced:

As a matter of guidance to the trial bench, we advise that this instruction be closely followed. We have previously applauded a similar instruction as "not subject to the abuses said to attend the giving of an 'Allen' charge."...Such an instruction has also been adopted as a replacement for the Allen charge in seventeen jurisdictions and as an acceptable alternative to that charge in four others.



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