Judge to Issue ‘Allen Charge’ in Trial of NYC Banker

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Conventional wisdom has it that the deadlocked jury in the trial of Frank P. Quattrone, the former star technology banker at Credit Suisse First Boston, is likely to benefit him with an outcome of an acquittal or a mistrial.

But the judge’s plan to issue a so-called Allen charge Monday morning to the jury – a strong admonition of its duty to try to reach a consensus – could have the opposite effect, pushing jurors who are holding out for an acquittal to compromise and accept some kind of guilty verdict, reports the New York Times.

After spending all of Friday in deliberations, the jury told the judge that it was in “substantial disagreement” about whether Mr. Quattrone had obstructed justice and tampered with witnesses by sending an e-mail message to his staff endorsing a colleague’s directions to “clean up those files.”

A study conducted last year by the University of Central Florida found that 24 percent of convictions in federal trials in which an Allen charge was made were at least partly reversed.

Legal experts say many judges refuse to give juries an Allen charge, thinking that if the jury is split, the prosecution has not convincingly proved its case.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/20/business/20star.html

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