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Name: People v. Santiago
Case #: F056686
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/09/2009

CALCRIM No. 3550 is not an impermissible Allen-type instruction. In Santiago’s jury trial for possession of methamphetamine, the jury was instructed with CALCRIM No. 3550 over defense counsel’s objection. On appeal, Santiago contended that CALCRIM No. 3550 is an impermissible Allen-type instruction (Allen v. United States (1896) 164 U.S. 492), suggesting that minority jurors give way to the opinions of the majority and that all criminal cases must be decided at some point. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that the instruction contains none of the flaws determined to be objectionable in People v. Gainer (1977) 19 Cal.3d 835. The instruction was not directed at a deadlocked jury, nor did it instruct a deadlocked jury that it must reach a verdict. It did not place any constraints on each juror’s responsibility to consider and weigh the evidence. It did not coerce the jurors into giving up their independent judgment, or encourage them to look at the numerical split. Telling a jury to reach a verdict if it can is not coercive.