Allen v. United States

In Allen v. United States (1896) 164 U.S. 492, the instructions given to the jury were that they should listen to the other jurors, but if a larger number were for conviction, "a dissenting juror should consider whether his doubt was a reasonable one which made no impression upon the minds of so many men, equally honest, equally intelligent with himself. If, upon, the other hand, the majority was for acquittal, the minority ought to ask themselves whether they might not reasonably doubt the correctness of a judgment which was not concurred in by the majority." (Id. at p. 501.) The Supreme Court stated that there was no error in the instructions: "It certainly cannot be the law that each juror should not listen with deference to the arguments and with a distrust of his own judgment, if he finds a large majority of the jury taking a different view of the case from what he does himself. It cannot be that each juror should go to the jury-room with a blind determination that the verdict shall represent his opinion of the case at that moment; or, that he should close his ears to the arguments of men who are equally honest and intelligent as himself." (Id. at pp. 501-502.)