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Name: Parker v. Small
Case #: 10-17128
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 12/27/2011
Summary

While pointing out that the jury instruction to a deadlocked jury would not necessarily be approved if the federal court were sitting in the position of the state court, AEDPA requires deferential review, the benefit of the doubt, and that the state decision was not an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law. When deciding how to respond to a jury reporting an impasse, the instruction or methods employed by the trial court may not coerce the jury to reach a verdict. Here the jurors were advised to continue deliberating after their first two indications of deadlock. On the third reported deadlock, there was a juror holding out for acquittal based on credibility concerns about the prosecution witnesses. The court gave the instruction which was upheld in People v. Moore (2002) 96 Cal.App.4th 1105, 1121 and a verdict of guilt was reached. The California Court of Appeal found that the instruction was not coercive because the supplemental instruction did not address the holdout juror’s concerns or recast the evidence in a light more favorable to the prosecution. AEDPA deference requires reversal only if there is an unreasonable application of Lowenfield v. Phelps (1988) 484 U.S. 231, 237.