Fain v. ColoradoAnnotate this Case
Defendant Aaron Fain was charged with six counts of attempted murder, attempted first degree murder after deliberation and attempted first degree extreme indifference murder. He was also charged with drunk driving, criminal mischief and various weapons charges. At trial, Fain conceded to the mischief, DUI and weapons offenses, but contested the murder charges. After Fain presented his case, the jury began deliberations. The next morning, the court told the parties that the jury was having trouble reaching a unanimous verdict. The court told the parties it was inclined to give a modified-Allen instruction; neither party objected to this suggestion. The instruction the trial court gage the jury tracked the pattern instruction, and concluded by telling the jury that if it could not reach a unanimous verdict on any count, to then "let [the court] know." Soon after, the jury found Fain guilty of all three counts of attempted second degree murder, three counts of attempted first degree extreme indifference murder, and the conceded counts. On appeal, Fain argued the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury about a mistrial if it was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. For support, Fain cited "Colorado v. Raglin," (21 P.3d 419 (Colo. App. 2000)). The Supreme Court overruled "Raglin" and held that the trial court was not required to provide a mistrial advisement when giving a modified-Allen instruction. "The trial court has discretion to instruct a deadlocked jury about the possibility of a mistrial when, considering the content of the instruction and the context in which it is given, the instruction will not have a coercive effect on the jury. Applying this holding, the Supreme Court concluded the trial court did not err by failing to instruct the jury about a possibility of a mistrial.