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Effective Assistance of Counsel And N.Y. Criminal Procedure Law §440 (The 440 Motion).

By Stephen N. Preziosi, November 24th, 2014

effective assistance, 440 motion, right to counsel, sixth amendment

 

People v. Grubstein

New York Court of Appeals

2014 NY Slip Op 07924

Decided on: November 18, 2014

Issue: Whether a pro se defendant who pleads guilty to a misdemeanor charge is barred from raising a claim that he was deprived of his right to effective assistance of counsel in a CPL 440.10 motion when he failed to raise this claim on direct appeal.

Summary: Defendant moved to withdraw his guilty plea for a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated in Town Court. The motion was made two years after he pled guilty as a pro se defendant. The Town Court granted the motion, holding that the defendant’s decision to waive his right to counsel and defend himself “was not made knowingly or intelligently.” The Appellate Term reversed this decision, claiming that the only recourse for review of the decision against defendant was direct appeal. The Court of Appeals disagreed and reversed. It remitted the case to the Appellate Term, Ninth and Tenth Judicial Districts to consider issues raised but not determined on appeal.

Holding: The Court of Appeals held that a pro se defendant who claims that his right to counsel was deprived when he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge is not barred from raising that issue in a CPL 440.10 motion because he failed to raise ineffective assistance on direct appeal.

Facts: In 2008, a pro se defendant pled guilty in Town Court to a misdemeanor driving while intoxicated charge. During the Town Court proceeding, defendant was not represented by counsel and did not receive advice on his right to appeal. As such, he did not appeal his conviction. Two years later, in 2010, the defendant was arrested for a similar offense and charged with a felony under VTL § 1193 (1)(c)(i), which applies to a person who drives while intoxicated after having been convicted of such a crime within the preceding 10 years. He then moved in the Town Court to withdraw his guilty plea from 2008.

Legal Analysis: In its opinion, the court reviewed the general rule relating to direct appeals. Essentially, when an issue is permitted for review on direct appeal, the defendant who has not appealed the conviction in the correct amount of time, or the defendant who has appealed correctly, but failed to raise an issue on appeal, loses the ability to assert this issue as a basis for post-conviction relief. People v. Cuadrado, 9 N.Y.3d 362 (2007). Furthermore, the court cited CPL § 440.10(2)(c), which states that a court must deny a motion to vacate a judgment when, although sufficient facts appear on record…to have permitted, upon appeal from such judgment, adequate review of the ground or issue…no such appellate review occurred. Under § 440.10(2)(c), the standard for denying a motion to vacate a judgment is that the failure to make an appeal or the failure to raise an issue on appeal must be unjustifiable.

However, the court noted that this general rule poses a risk of unfairness to a defendant who claims that he was deprived of his right to counsel. The court reasoned that this very deprivation of right to counsel could be what leads a defendant not to appeal a judgment in the first place, or causes failure to raise an issue during an appeal. As such, the court reasoned that a defendant can “hardly be blamed for failing to follow customary legal procedures” if he had no way of knowing them.

The court indicated that § 440.10(2)(c) takes into account justifiable reasons for not appealing a judgment or failing to raise a particular argument on appeal. Therefore, a defendant’s inability to obtain counsel, which ultimately hindered his decision to pursue an appeal, should normally qualify as a justifiable reason under § 440.10(2)(c). When the Town Court in this case failed to inform the defendant in 2008 that he had a right to appeal the judgment against him, this justified defendant’s failure to appeal under § 440.10(2)(c).

The court concluded that the defendant was not barred from raising a deprivation of right to counsel claim in a CPL 440 motion.

Adequacy of Miranda Warnings And The Fifth Amendment Right To Remain Silent

By Stephen N. Preziosi, November 3rd, 2014

miranda warnings, self incrimination, confession, knowingly, criminal appeal lawyer

New York Court of Appeals

People v. Dunbar

2014 NY Slip Op 07293

Decided on October 28, 2014

Blog By: Stephen N. Preziosi Esq., Criminal Appeals Lawyer

Issue: Whether or not Defendants’ Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination were violated when Police asked a series of questions and gave them distorted versions of their Miranda warnings.

In People v. Dunbar, the Detective investigator with the Assistant District Attorney stated the following:

“I’m going to read you your rights now, and then you can decide if you want to speak with us, O.K? You have the right to be arraigned without undue delay; that is, to be brought before a Judge, to be advised of the charges against you, to have an attorney assigned or appointed for you, and to have the question of bail decided by the court.” (Gave the Miranda warnings); and asked “Now that I have advised you of your rights, are you willing to answer questions?

In People v. Douglas, the Detective Investigator with the Assistant District Attorney stated the following:

“In a few minutes, I’m going to give you an opportunity to explain what you did and what happened at that date, time, and place. Then I will read you your rights, and you can talk with me if you’d like.” (Gave the Miranda warnings); and asked “Now that I have advised you of your rights, are you willing to answer questions?

Summary: This appeal deals with two Defendants that were in custody and were asked a series of questions that were distorted versions of their Miranda rights. Defendants’ sought to suppress the statements made and were denied.

In Dunbar, The Appellate Divisions reversed concluding that the “preamble” (information and suggestion) prevented the Miranda warnings from effectively conveying a suspect of their rights and created a muddled and ambiguous message.

In Douglas, The Appellate Division reversed, ordering a suppression of the statement for the reasons stated in the same case.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the Appellate Divisions’ orders in both cases and held that, by advising each Defendant that speaking would facilitate an investigation, the interrogatories implied that these Defendants’ words would be used to help them, thus, undermining the heart of the Miranda warning that anything they said could be used against them. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Appellate Divisions’ orders.

See Also: Drug Law Reform Act Of 2009: Excludes Defendants From Sentence Reduction

Holding: The Court of Appeals held that the series of questions that were asked to the Defendants created a muddled and ambiguous message to the extent that that the Defendants were not adequately advised of their Fifth Amendment Right against self-incrimination and the statements attributed to them were suppressed.

Facts: This appeal deals with two Defendants that were in custody and were asked a series of questions that were distorted versions of their Miranda rights.

In Dunbar,

Defendant, while in custody, was interviewed by a Detective Investigator (DI) and a Assistant District Attorney (ADA). They informed Defendant that they would read him his rights, and after, give him an opportunity to explain what he did. The DI then gave a “preamble” of distorted versions of the standardized Miranda warning and Defendant gave a statement. After Dunbar was indicted, he made a motion to suppress.

He argues that his videotaped statement was not voluntary and that he had not been adequately advised of his Miranda rights; the suppression court denied the motion to suppress. The Appellate Division reversed, concluding that the preamble prevented the Miranda warnings from effectively conveying to suspects their rights. The People sought leave to the Court of Appeals where the Court affirmed the Appellate Division’s order.

In Douglas,

Defendant was in custody and was interviewed by an Assistant District Attorney and a Detective Investigator. The ADA told Defendant the charges he would be facing and that he would be read his rights. The DI then delivered a distorted version of Miranda warnings.  After Douglas was indicted, he moved to suppress the statements. He argued that the statement was involuntarily made and should be suppressed; that motion was denied. The Appellate Division reversed, ordering suppression of the statement for the reasons stated in the companion case above. The People sought leave to the Court of Appeals where the Appellate Division was affirmed.

Legal Analysis: The Court of Appeals held that an individual taken into custody by law enforcement authorities for questioning must be adequately and effectively apprised of his rights safeguarded by the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, Miranda, 384 US at 467; US Const. Amend V.

First, the authorities must inform a suspect in clear and unequivocal terms of the right to remain silent. Second, they must make a suspect aware not only of the privilege, but also of the consequences of forgoing it by explaining that anything he says during the interrogation can and will be used against him in court.

To assure that this right to choose between silence and speech remains unfettered throughout the interrogation process, the authorities must also explain to the suspect that he has a right to the presence of an attorney. And finally, so that the right to an attorney is not “hollow”, the authorities must also advise the suspect that if he is indigent a lawyer will be appointed to represent him.

The Court of Appeals held that these four warnings are an absolute prerequisite to interrogation. The Fifth Amendment privilege is so fundamental to our system of Constitutional rule and the expedient of giving an adequate warning as to the availability of the privilege so simple, a court does not pause to inquire in individual cases whether the Defendant was aware of his right without a warning being given.

Prior to the Miranda decision, courts looked at every confession individually for voluntariness, using a totality-of-the-circumstances test grounded in notions of Due Process. This Due Process test took into consideration the totality of all the surrounding circumstances—both the characteristics of the accused and the details of the interrogation. While the prosecution must prove voluntariness of a confession, Miranda changed the focus of much of the inquiry.

Miranda has become embedded in routine practice to the point where the warnings have become a part of our national culture, Dickerson v. United States, 530 US 428, 443 2000. Since Miranda was handed down, the United States Supreme Court has declined to return to the totality-of-the-circumstances test of voluntariness, or to allow the Government to meet its burden without demonstrating compliance with the Miranda procedure.

In sum, absent a full and effective warning of these rights and a knowing, intelligent and voluntary waiver, statements made by a suspect during custodial interrogation must be suppressed. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Appellate Divisions’ order for suppression.

Drug Law Reform Act Of 2009 Excludes Certain Defendants From Sentence Reduction

By Stephen N. Preziosi, October 31st, 2014

criminal appeals lawyer, exclusion offense, sentence reduction, CP 440.46(5)(a), Correction Law §803(1)(d()(ii)

People v. Coleman

2014 NY Slip Op 07010

New York Court of Appeals

Decided on: October 16, 2014

Blog By: Stephen N. Preziosi Esq., Criminal Appeals Lawyer

Issue: Whether the Drug Law Reform Act of 2009 re-sentencing exclusion applies to all offenders who are ineligible to receive a merit time allowance, including those who cannot receive those allowances solely by virtue of their recidivist sentencing adjudications; or whether it applies only to offenders who have been convicted of certain serious crimes that are specifically listed in Correctional Law §803(1)(d)(ii) which eliminates the possibility of a merit time allowance regardless of an offender’s recidivist sentencing adjudications.

Summary: Defendant was convicted, after a jury trial, of two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance. Based on Defendant’s prior felony convictions, the trial court exercised its discretion to adjudicate Defendant a predicate felony offender. The Appellate Division for the Third Department affirmed Defendant’s conviction and a Judge of the Court of Appeals denied him leave.

Defendant filed a motion in County Court for re-sentencing pursuant to the 2009 Drug Law Reform Act (DLRA) contending that he met all of the statutory eligibility requirements and should be re-sentenced under CPL 440.46(5). The People opposed Defendant’s re-sentencing application on the theory that he was serving a sentence on a conviction for an “exclusion offense”, which rendered him ineligible for re-sentencing, CPL 440.46(5). County Court denied Defendant’s motion on the ground that he was ineligible for re-sentencing under the statute and Defendant appealed to the Appellate Division where they reversed and remitted the matter to County Court for further proceedings.

Upon remittal, Defendant submitted additional papers stating that he was eligible for re-sentencing under the 2009 DLRA because he was not serving a sentence upon a conviction for, nor did he have a predicate felony conviction for, any statutorily defined exclusion offense that would make him ineligible for re-sentencing. County Court denied, finding Defendant ineligible for re-sentencing.

The Appellate Division reversed, stating that Defendant met the basic eligibility requirements for re-sentencing under the 2009 DLRA, and had no conviction for an exclusion offense, therefore, he was eligible for re-sentencing. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Appellate Division’s order and held that Defendant was eligible for re-sentencing under the 2009 DLRA.

See Also: CPL 450.90(2) Appealing To The Court Of Appeals From Appellate Division: Mixed Questions Of Law And Fact Don’t Fly

Holding: The Court of Appeals held that the exclusion applies only to offenders who have been convicted of one or more of the serious crimes that automatically render merit time allowances unavailable under Correction Law §803(1)(d)(ii), and therefore, an offender who has no such conviction may be re-sentenced, notwithstanding his or her adjudication as a persistent violent felony.

Correction Law §803(1)(d)(ii) makes a merit time allowance unavailable by precluding re-sentencing only for individuals whose offenses are so serious as to make it impossible for them to receive a merit time allowance under the Correction Law.

A re-sentencing exclusion applies solely to a Defendant who has been convicted of a crime that absolutely prevents him or her from obtaining a merit time allowance, regardless of sentencing status, because the re-sentencing exclusion is based on the nature of the Defendant’s offense rather than his or her sentence.

Legal Analysis: The Court of Appeals held that a Defendant who meets the basic statutory eligibility requirements is eligible for re-sentencing unless he or she is serving a sentence on a conviction for, or has a predicate felony conviction for an exclusion offense under CPL 440.46(1). A Defendant is ineligible for re-sentencing if, he or she has previously been convicted of an “offense” that prevents the Defendant from receiving a merit time allowance, CPL 440.46(5)(a). Here it is undisputed that Defendant met the basic statutory eligibility requirements. Therefore, Defendant’s eligibility for re-sentencing turns to whether he was convicted of an “exclusion offense.” Under CPL 440.46(5)(a)

CPL 440.46(5) defines an exclusion offense as: a crime for which the person was previously convicted within the preceding ten years, excluding any time during which the offender was incarcerated for any reason between the time of commission of the previous felony, and the time of commission of the present felony, which was: (i) a violent felony offense as defined in Penal Law §70.02; or (ii) any other offense for which a merit time allowance is not available pursuant to Correction Law § 803(1)(d)(ii).

Correction Law § 803(1)(d)(ii), describes the circumstances that a Defendant may receive a merit time allowance, stating:

A merit time allowance shall not be available to any person serving an indeterminate sentence authorized for an A-1 felony offense, other than an A-1 felony offense defined in Penal Law article 220 (drug offenses), or any sentence imposed as defined in Penal Law §70.02 (violent felony offenses) which are, manslaughter in the second degree, vehicular manslaughter in the second degree, vehicular manslaughter in the first degree, criminally negligent homicide, incest, or an offense defined in Penal Law article 263(sexual performance by a child), or aggravated harassment of an employee by an inmate, Correction Law §803 (1)(d)(ii).

Correction Law §803 (1)(d)(ii) makes a merit time allowance unavailable to a Defendant who has been adjudicated a persistent felony offender.

The Court of Appeals agreed with the Appellate Division Third Department in People v. Coleman, 110 AD3d at 77-78, where it was held that the re-sentencing exclusion applies solely to a Defendant who has been convicted of a crime that absolutely prevents him or her from obtaining a merit time allowance, regardless of sentencing status, because the re-sentencing exclusion is based on the nature of the Defendant’s offense rather than his or her sentence.

The language suggests that a Defendant has a conviction for an exclusion offense only if the Defendant’s offense, (ie., his or her criminal conduct), Penal Law §10.00(1), constitutes a crime that necessarily causes a person convicted of it to lose any chance of obtaining a merit time allowance.

On the other hand, the same clause’s citation to Correction Law § 803(1)(d)(ii) prevents a Defendant from obtaining a merit time allowance based on the sentence authorized or imposed for his of her offense .

The Court of Appeals held, in choosing between these two readings, they are guided by the guideline that the plain terms of the Drug Law Reform Act of 2009(DLRA), like any statute, should be interpreted in a manner that effectuated the intent of the legislature, People v. Mitchell, 15 NY3d 93, 97 2010.

Although there is virtually no official legislative history of re-sentencing exclusion at issue here, the Court may look to the broader purpose of the DLRA as a whole for guidance and divining the meaning of exclusion. The Court of Appeals has made clear when the Legislature enacted the 2009 DLRA, it sought to improve the excessive punishments meted out to low-level, non-violent drug offenders under the so called “Rockefeller Drug Laws”, and therefore the statute is designed to spread relief as widely as possible, within the bounds of reason, to its intended beneficiaries.

The Court held that it is reasonable that the Legislature cited Correction Law §803(1)(d)(ii) to prevent the re-sentencing of offenders who, by their commission of the most violent and sexual offenses mentioned in that statue, have shown themselves undeserving of re-sentencing.

When viewed in context, the merit time related exclusion follows the offense based approach of the other exclusions by precluding re-sentencing only for individuals whose offenses are so serious as to make it impossible for them to receive a merit time allowance under the Correction Law. Adding, while a Defendant convicted of a class A-1 felony or any other serious crimes mentioned (drug offenses) cannot be re-sentenced under the 2009 DLRA, yet, persistent felony offenders who have no such convictions are eligible for re-sentencing.

Here, the Court of Appeals concluded that Defendant has never been convicted of any of the crimes which eliminate the possibility of a merit time allowance under Correction Law § 803(1)(d)(ii) within the relevant time period, and he meets all other eligibility criteria under 2009 DLRA. Therefore, the Court concluded that Defendant is eligible for re-sentencing.

CPL 450.90(2) Appealing To The Court Of Appeals From Appellate Division: Mixed Questions of Law And Fact Don’t Fly

By Stephen N. Preziosi, October 30th, 2014

 

criminal appeals lawyer, criminal appeals law firm, top criminal appeals lawyer, best criminal appeals lawyer

People v. Pohill

2014 NY Slip Op 07294

New York Court of Appeals

Decided on: October 28, 2014

Blog By: Stephen N. Preziosi Esq., Criminal Appeals Lawyer 

The New York State Constitution Limits Power And Scope Of Court Of Appeal’s Authority.

Issue: Whether an appeal regarding the suppression of identification evidence (i.e a mixed question of law and fact) can be entertained by the New York Court of Appeals.

Summary: An Appeal to the Court of Appeals from the Appellate Division was dismissed. This Appeal deals with a suppression of identification of evidence. (i.e a mixed question of law and fact.). The Appellate Division reversed the trial court’s denial of the omnibus motion to suppress identification evidence, holding that the motion should have been granted.

The People sought leave to appeal to the Court of Appeals. There, it was held that the appeal should be dismissed for failing to meet the requirements of CPL 450.90(2) because the circumstances of the case presents a mixed question of law and fact. The Court of Appeals held that the Appellate Division’s reversal was not ‘on the law alone or upon the law and such facts which, but for the determination of law would not have led to reversal” CPL 450.90(2), and dismissed the appeal.

See Also: The Doctrine Of Manifest Necessity: Before Declaring A Mistrial, A Juge Must Consider All Circumstances

Holding: No, the Court of Appeals may not decide cases where there is a mixed question of law and fact. The Court determined that the case was not appealable because it a mixed question of law and fact.

Facts: Defendant was convicted of attempted robbery and the trial court denied the motion to suppress identification evidence. The Appellate Division reversed, holding that the motion should have been granted. The People sought leave to the Court of Appeals where it was determined that the case should be dismissed for failing to meet the requirements of CPL 450.90(2) because the circumstances of case presented a mixed question of law and fact.

Legal Analysis: The Court of Appeals held that CPL 450.90(2) provides that appeals to the Court of Appeals from a judgment, sentence or order may be taken if:

(a) the Court of Appeals determines that an intermediate Appellate Court’s determination of reversal or modification was on the law alone or upon the law and such facts which, but for the determination of law, would not have led to reversal or modification ; or

(b)  the appeal is based upon a contention that corrective action, as that term is defined in section 470.10, taken or directed by the intermediate appellate court was illegal.

The Court’s power of review is, in general, limited to questions of law as distinguished from questions of fact or discretion, and it is empowered to review questions of fact only in certain types of cases, NY Const., Art. VI, §3(a); CPLR 5501(b). The Court of Appeals has often observed that its review mandate does not extend to the altercation of findings of fact made by the jury which have been affirmed by the Appellate Division.

In criminal capital cases in which the death penalty has been imposed, and in proceedings for the review of determinations of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Court of Appeals is the appellate tribunal of first and generally last resort, and in that role it possesses plenary power to review all questions, whether law or fact.

The State Constitution empowers the Court of Appeals to review questions of fact only in a nonjury civil case or modified on appeal of judgment and has expressly or impliedly found new facts and a final judgment was entered, NY Const., Art. VI, §3(a). The reason for this exception to the general rule has been stated to be that every party is entitled to one appellate review on the facts.

The basic principle is that a question of fact is presented if there is a conflict either in the evidence or in the inferences, which can reasonably be drawn. The simplest illustration of that principle is the case in which opposing witnesses give conflicting testimony.

The Court’s power to review questions of fact, generally; constitutional provisions

Article VI, section 3(a) of the New York State Constitution, which governs the power of the Court of Appeals to review questions of fact reads as follows

(a) The jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals shall be limited to the review of questions of law except where the judgment is of death, or where the Appellate Division, on reversing or modifying a final or interlocutory judgment in an action or a final or interlocutory order in a special proceeding, finds new facts and a final judgment or a final order pursuant thereto is entered; but the right to appeal shall not depend upon the amount involved.

CPLR 5501(b), which supplements the foregoing constitutional provisions, reads as follows:

The Court of Appeals shall review questions of law only, except that it shall also review questions of fact where the Appellate Division, on reversing or modifying a final or interlocutory judgment, has expressly or impliedly found new facts and a final judgment pursuant thereto is entered. In conclusion, because the case contained a mixed question of law and fact the Court of Appeals dismissed pursuant to CPL 450.90(2).

The Doctrine Of Manifest Necessity: Before Declaring A Mistrial, A Judge Must Consider All Circumstances

By Stephen N. Preziosi, October 29th, 2014

 criminal appeals lawyer, doctrine of manifest necessity, jury deliberations, mistrial

U.S v. Therve

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

764 F.3d 1293 2014

Decided on: August 20, 2014

Blog By: Stephen N. Preziosi Esq., Criminal Appeals Lawyer

Judge’s Piecemeal Disclosure Of Jury Was Not Improper

Issue: Whether the declaration of a mistrial was manifestly necessary when the District Court disclosed the contents of a note from the jury that stated they were split 11 to 1 in favor of Defendant and whether the disclosure influenced the parties discussion as to how to proceed.

Summary: Defendant was indicted for bribing an Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation officer. During deliberations, the jury sent a note to the Judge stating that they were undecided. The District Court gave an Allen charge to see if the jurors could reach a unanimous agreement. A second jury note was sent to the Judge stating that the jury was still undecided. The Judge told the parties that the note said they were split 11 to 1 in favor of Defendant. The judge determined that the jury was unable to agree unanimously and declared a mistrial.

During Defendant’s second trial, the jury found him guilty and he appealed. On Appeal, Defendant argues that the District Court failed to exercise sound discretion when it disclosed to the parties the numerical division of the jurors and how they voted. He argues that the disclosure manipulated the parties’ discussion about what course of action to take to resolve the issue of the deadlocked jury. The Court of Appeals affirmed stating that the District Court exercised sound discretion in its declaration of a mistrial.

See Also: Right To A Speedy “Re-Trial”: Calculating Speedy Trial Time On Remand From An Appellate Court

Holding: The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that the District Court was within its discretion in declaring a mistrial based on the jury’s inability to agree on a unanimous decision. The Eleventh Circuit held that the jury’s numerical division has never been a factor that the Supreme Court of Courts of Appeals’ has indicated as an appropriate consideration for determining whether manifest necessity or a mistrial exists.

Facts: Defendant was indicted for bribing an Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation officer. During deliberations, the jury sent a note to the Judge stating that they could not reach a unanimous decision. The court gave an Allen charge, and the jury resumed its deliberations.

A second jury note was brought to the court’s attention stating that the jury was still undecided. The District Court revealed the numerical division of how they ruled: 11 not guilty, 1 guilty.

The Judge stated that he will not coerce any of the jurors to agree unanimously and called in the foreperson. The foreperson responded that the jury was never going to reach a unanimous decision and the District Court declared a mistrial.

During Defendant’s second trial, the jury found him guilty, and he appealed. On Appeal, Defendant argues that the District Court failed to exercise sound discretion when it disclosed to the parties the numerical division of the jurors and how they voted. He argues that the disclosure manipulated the parties’ discussion about what course of action to take to resolve the issue of the deadlocked jury. The Court of Appeals found that the trial judge exercised sound discretion in declaring a mistrial and affirmed.

Legal Analysis: The Court of Appeals held that they will review a mistrial order to determine whether it was manifestly necessary under all of the circumstances, United States v. Berroa, 374 F.3d 1053, 1056 11th Cir.2004. The Court held that the deference they give to the District Court’s declaration of a mistrial varies according to the circumstances, which include the basis for the order of a mistrial and the trial judge’s exercise of sound discretion in making the decision. Arizona v. Washington, 434 U.S. 497, 509-10 &fn. 28, 98 S.Ct. 824, 54 L.Ed.2d 717 1978.

To determine if a mistrial was manifestly necessary in a particular case, the Court of Appeals held that they will review the entire record in the case without limiting themselves to the actual findings of the trial court. United States v. Chica, 14 F.3d 1527, 1531 11th Cir.1994.

Under the manifest necessity doctrine, District Courts are permitted to declare a mistrial and discharge a jury where, taking all the circumstances into consideration, there is a manifest necessity for the act, or the ends of public justice would otherwise be defeated. United States v. Perez, 22 U.S. 9 Wheat. 579, 6 L.Ed 1824.

The Court of Appeals held that the justification for deferring to the trial court’s declaration of a mistrial in these circumstances is that the trial court is in the best position to access all the factors which must be considered in making a necessarily discretionary determination whether the jury will be able to reach a just verdict if it continues to deliberate. Without such deference, trial judges might otherwise employ coercive means to break the apparent deadlock, thereby creating a significant risk that a verdict may result from pressures inherent in the situation rather than the considered judgment of all the jurors. Renico v. Lett, 559 U.S. 766, 774, 130 S.Ct. 1855, 176 L.Ed.2d 678 2010.

In this case, the Court of Appeals acknowledged that the trial Judge found himself in a difficult position when he received the jury’s second note that disclosed the jury’s numerical division. The jury’s first note indicated that it was hung, that the majority was one-sided, and that it did not appear the jury would reach a unanimous decision.

After the Allen charge and an additional period of deliberation, the jury returned with a second note stating that it had been 11 to 1 from the beginning, and no juror was changing his or her mind. The Court of Appeals held that they considered that the judge already had given an Allen charge without effect, again directing the jury to continue deliberations risked obtaining a verdict that was not the product of the considered judgment of all jurors.

Defendant argues that the judge manipulated the discussion by slowly disclosing the contents of the second jury note. The numerical count is not relevant to determine whether they should be sent back to deliberate.

The Court of Appeals held that the judge’s consultation with the parties is just one factor to consider in evaluating whether a mistrial ruling was sound, and even a failure to consult at all does not show that the Judge abused his discretion when the rest of the record is to the contrary.

The record in this case was clear that the jury was deadlocked and that further deliberations would not have proved helpful. The Court of Appeals held that they would prefer that in the future, judges refrain from announcing the details of splits volunteered by the jury, however, they cannot say that, in this case, the judge’s disclosure of the jury’s numerical and positional breakdown was improper. Accordingly, the Court of Appeals affirmed.