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State v. Santiago

Supreme Court of Montana

January 30, 2018

STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
KOGAN J. SANTIAGO, Defendant and Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs: November 15, 2017

         District Court of the Thirteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Yellowstone, Cause No. DC 13-839 Honorable Russell C. Fagg, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: Chad Wright, Appellate Defender, Lisa K. Korchinski, Assistant Appellate Defender, Helena, Montana

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Tammy A. Hinderman, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana

          Scott D. Twito, Yellowstone County Attorney, Mary Leffers Barry, Christopher Morris, Deputy County Attorneys, Billings, Montana

          OPINION

          Laurie McKinnon, Justice.

         ¶1 A jury found Kogan J. Santiago (Santiago) guilty of sexual intercourse without consent. The Thirteenth Judicial District Court, Yellowstone County, sentenced Santiago to thirty years incarceration, with fifteen years suspended. Santiago appeals his conviction. We affirm and address the following issue:

Did the District Court abuse its discretion in giving the deadlocked jury an Allen-instruction?

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         ¶2 The State charged Santiago with sexual intercourse without consent following an incident that occurred in April 2013. Santiago pleaded not guilty and the case proceeded to a jury trial. On the last day of trial, the jury began deliberations at 11:30 a.m. and shortly thereafter had lunch. At 4:00 p.m., the jury sent the Judge a note indicating it was deadlocked and could not form a unanimous decision. Specifically, the jury indicated its vote was eleven-to-one and that the one juror was unwilling to change his or her position.

         ¶3 In response, the State suggested the court provide an Allen-instruction, also frequently referred to as a dynamite-instruction. An Allen-instruction may be given to a deadlocked jury and is meant to encourage further jury deliberation. This Court specifically approved the State's requested Allen-instruction in State v. Norquay:

The judicial process assigns tasks to the people involved in the case. It is the task of the witnesses to testify truthfully to the facts as they recall them. It is the task of the lawyers to prepare the case for final submission to the trier of the facts, the jury. It is the task of the Judge to preside, to instruct you as to the law, and to rule on whether certain evidence will be allowed at trial. It is the task of the jury to decide the case. You are not partisan nor are you advocates in this matter; you are neutral judges of the facts. It is you and you alone that can decide this cause. There is no reason to believe that any other
12 people would possess any more ability, intelligence, and courage to do the task assigned to a jury under the American system of justice.
The purpose of this instruction is to encourage you to collaborate with your fellow jurors in order to reach a just and fair verdict in this case. This instruction is not meant to coerce or to force a verdict. You should ...

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