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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

2.10-4  When Jury Fails to Agree ("Chip Smith")

Revised to December 1, 2007

The instructions that I shall give you now are only to provide you with additional information so that you may return to your deliberations and see whether you can arrive at a verdict.

Along these lines, I would like to state the following to you.  The verdict to which each of you agrees must express your own conclusion and not merely the acquiescence in the conclusion of your fellow jurors.  Yet, in order to bring your minds to a unanimous result, you should consider the question you have to decide not only carefully but also with due regard and deference to the opinions of each other.

In conferring together, you ought to pay proper respect to each other's opinions and listen with an open mind to each other's arguments.  If the much greater number of you reach a certain conclusion, dissenting jurors should consider whether their opinion is a reasonable one when the evidence does not lend itself to a similar result in the minds of so many of you who are equally honest and equally intelligent, who have heard the same evidence with an equal desire to arrive at the truth and under the sanctions of the same oath.

But please remember this.  Do not ever change your mind just because other jurors see things differently or to get the case over with.  As I told you before, in the end, your vote must be exactly that -- your own vote.  As important as it is for you to reach a unanimous agreement, it is just as important that you do so honestly and in good conscience.

What I have said to you is not intended to rush you into agreeing on a verdict.  Take as much time as you need to discuss the matter.  There is no need to hurry.

Commentary

This charge was adopted by the Supreme Court in State v. O'Neil, 261 Conn. 49, 74 (2002).
 


 

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