When a jury becomes deadlocked and cannot reach a verdict for lack of unanimity, federal district courts often attempt to break the jury's deadlock by giving a supplemental instruction, usually called an "Allen charge," which urges the jurors to reconsider their views in order to attain a unanimous verdict. This article reviews the use of this type of supplemental instruction in the Ninth Circuit. Principally the article analyzes the approach previously taken by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in upholding Allen charges. It then evaluates the impact of Lowenfield v. Phelps, the recent Supreme Court case addressing the subject. The article concludes by suggesting how the Ninth Circuit would review an Allen charge on appeal in determining whether the charge should be upheld.
Shawn B. Jensen,
Criminal Procedure, 19 Golden Gate U. L. Rev.