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Name: People v. Hinton
Case #: C043690
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/12/2004

The trial court erred in giving a deadlocked jury a so-called “dynamite instruction.” (People v. Gainer (1977) 19 Cal.3d 835.) During deliberations, the jurors sent the trial court a note indicating that they were unable to reach an agreement. After the jurors were called back into court, the trial court made a series of comments. In particular, the trial court remarked that the jurors holding a minority position should question that position in light of the majority’s view. The trial court also indicated that the case would have to be retried if the jury could not agree. The trial court further emphasized the costs of the trial and implied that it would be necessary to expend further costs in a retrial. The appellate court noted that the trial court’s comments “even when considered in context, typify all three improper components of this type of instruction.” The Third District found that the error was not harmless and required reversal.