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North Carolina v. Brown

Filed: March 16, 1982.

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
CHARLIE NATHANIEL BROWN



Appeal by defendant from Small, Judge. Judgment entered 12 March 1981 in Superior Court, Pitt County. Heard in the Court of Appeals 9 March 1982.

Martin (Robert M.), Judge. Judges Martin (Harry C.) and Whichard concur.

Martin

The defendant first argues that the judge's instructions to the jury coerced a verdict in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. ยง 15A-1235. We disagree.

The jury in this case retired for deliberation at 2:38 p.m. The jurors returned to the courtroom at 5:17 p.m. and handed the blank verdict sheet to the court. The following dialogue occurred between the court and the jury foreman:

The Court: The Sheriff indicates to me that you have been unable to reach a verdict at this point. Is that the message you all sent me?

Juey foreman: Yes, sir.

The court was then recessed overnight. Upon the jury's return in the morning the following occurred:

The Court: Let me ask you this, Mr. Butler -- I believe you stated you were the foreman?

Mr. Butler: Yes, sir.

The Court: Do you or does any other member of the jury have any question that you wish to ask the court that if the court could answer may help you in the course of your deliberations?

(No questions.)

The Court: I realize that you all deliberated a little less than three hours yesterday afternoon. But in view of the time that was spent trying the case, and although you had indicated you had not reached a verdict, I would like to say this to you. Although your verdict must be unanimous, that is, all 12 of you must agree to whatever verdict you return, I want to instruct you that ...


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