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04/02/93 ROBERT HARRIS v. UNITED STATES

April 2, 1993

ROBERT HARRIS, JR., APPELLANT
v.
UNITED STATES, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia; (Hon. Frederick H. Weisberg, Trial Judge)

Before Steadman and King, Associate Judges, and Pryor, Senior Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Steadman

# STEADMAN, Associate Judge : Appellant, Robert Harris, Jr., and his co-defendant, Calvin V. Johnson, were indicted and charged together with several offenses stemming from the death of Paul Moore. *fn1 A jury trial commenced on December 3, 1990. The jury was given instructions and began deliberating on December 10, 1990. On December 14, appellant was found guilty of second-degree murder while armed, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, and carrying a pistol without a license. Appellant argues that his convictions should be reversed and remanded for a new trial because events surrounding a jury poll where the twelfth juror disagreed with part of the verdict announced by the foreperson on the second day of deliberations led to a coerced verdict. We disagree and affirm the convictions.

I.

On Monday, December 10, 1990, the jury in appellant Harris' case was instructed and sent to deliberate at 3:15 in the afternoon. They continued deliberating until 3:50 p.m. the next day, at which point the trial court received a note stating that the jury had reached their verdict. The jury came in and the foreperson was asked if the jury had reached a unanimous verdict in the case of Robert Harris. The foreperson stated that the jury found appellant Harris guilty of second-degree murder, of possession of a firearm while committing a crime of violence and of carrying a pistol without a license. The foreperson was then asked if the jury had reached a verdict in the case of Calvin Johnson. He stated that it had reached a unanimous verdict of guilty on the same three counts.

Counsel for both defendants requested a poll of the jurors. The court addressed the jury:

TRIAL COURT:

Ladies and gentlemen, as I told you I would, I'm going to poll the jury to insure for the benefit of the parties that your verdict is in fact unanimous.

Your foreperson and [I are] going to begin with the case of United States versus Robert Harris, Jr. Your foreperson has announced that you find Mr. Harris guilty of the charge of second-degree murder, guilty of the charge of possession of a firearm while committing a crime of violence, and guilty of the charge of carrying a pistol without a license.

If your own individual verdict agrees with the verdict announced by the foreperson please say yes. If your own individual verdict does not agree with the verdict announced by the foreperson please say no.

The court then asked each juror if he or she agreed with the verdict as announced by the foreperson. The first eleven jurors replied "Yes." The twelfth juror was then polled and the following exchange took place:

JUROR:

Would you repeat the question again?

TRIAL COURT:

My question is whether your own individual verdict in the case of United States versus Robert Harris agrees with the verdict announced by the foreperson. Your foreperson has announced that you find Mr. Harris guilty of the charge of . . . (the Trial Court then listed the offenses). Does your individual verdict agree with the verdict announced by the foreperson?

JUROR:

Part of it and not all of it.

TRIAL COURT:

Sorry, it appears that you may not have a unanimous verdict. Ladies and gentlemen, would you please return to the jury room ...


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