In Jones v. State, the Georgia Court of Appeals held that polling a jury after the verdict has been read is not coercive when it reveals a non-unanimous verdict and the jurors are sent back to deliberate.
Following a jury trial, the defendant was convicted of rape and multiple counts of child molestation. After the jury read the verdict, the members were polled. Upon polling the jury, it was revealed that one juror did not agree with the guilty verdict for all four counts.
During individual questioning, the juror stated that she did not agree with the guilty verdict on two of the counts and explained that was just how she felt when going through the evidence. Defense counsel moved for a mistrial but the trial court believed more deliberations would be helpful and sent the jury back.
After 45 minutes of extra deliberations, the jury returned with a unanimous verdict on all four counts.
On appeal, the defense argued that the trial judge’s actions were coercive in that the name of the dissenting juror was now known and that the jury was ordered to continue deliberating after one of them indicated that she disagreed with the verdict.
However, the Court of Appeals stated that the proper procedure for anything other than a unanimous verdict is to return the jury to the jury room as was done in this case. It further held that polling the jury actually protected the defendant’s rights by revealing a non-unanimous verdict. As a result, the Court affirmed the Defendant’s convictions for rape, child molestation, aggravated child molestation and aggravated sodomy.
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