Friday, March 11, 2005

Allen/Dynamite Charge?

As the jury in the Bernie Ebbers prosecution spends more time deliberating, the possibility of a deadlock certainly increases.  If the jury indicates that it cannot reach a unanimous agreement on one or more charges, the court may give an Allen charge -- also known as a dynamite charge -- to break the deadlock.  A decision by the D.C. Circuit on March 10 (U.S. v. Yarborough) reverses a conviction because the trial judge gave an improper Allen charge (in a gun possession case).  This is yet another area fraught with danger on appeal if there were to be a conviction after such a charge. (ph)

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