The Dubose brother’s murder trial came to a temporary end on Saturday in Jacksonville. The juries for 2 of the brothers reached verdicts, but the jury for the remaining brother was deadlocked. That means the 12 panel jury could not come to a unanimous verdict. Apparently, one person would not change her mind about what the verdict should be.
When a jury can’t reach a decision in Florida, the judge has to read a certain jury instruction, commonly known as an Allen charge. It is:
“I know that all of you have worked hard to try to find a verdict in this case. It apparently has been impossible for you so far. Sometimes an early vote before discussion can make it hard to reach an agreement about the case later. The vote, not the discussion, might make it hard to see all sides of the case. We are all aware that it is legally permissible for a jury to disagree. There are two things a jury can lawfully do: agree on a verdict or disagree on what the facts of the case may truly be. There is nothing to disagree about on the law. The law is as I told you. If you have any disagreements about the law, I should clear them for you now. That should be my problem, not yours. If you disagree over what you believe the evidence showed, then only you can resolve that conflict, if it is to be resolved. I have only one request of you. By law, I cannot demand this of you, but I want you to go back into the jury room. Then, taking turns, tell each of the other jurors about any weaknesses of your own position. You should not interrupt each other or comment on each other’s views until each of you has had a chance to talk. After you have done that, if you simply cannot reach a verdict, then return to the courtroom and I will declare this case mistried, and will discharge you with my sincere appreciation for your services. You may now retire to continue with your deliberations.”
If the jury still cannot reach a decision, a mistrial is declared and the state attorney can elect to conduct another trial or try to work out a plea agreement.