Manifest Necessity Required to Declare Jury Deadlocked

Author: Emily Otte, Executive Comments Editor

State v. Kornelson, No. 118,091 (Kan. July 2, 2020)

Issue: Whether the goading standard or the manifest necessity standard applies to a double jeopardy claim when the defendant does not object or consent to a trial court’s sua sponte declaration of a deadlocked jury.  

Answer: The manifest necessity standard applies, requiring a manifest necessity to justify the discharge of the jury.

Facts: Kornelson was charged with driving under the influence and illegal transportation of liquor.  The first trial ended in a mistrial; the jury deliberated for just over an hour and, after a brief exchange with jurors, the court declared the jury deadlocked.  Kornelson did not object or consent to the mistrial.  Kornelson was convicted of both charges at a second trial.  He then appealed, arguing that the second trial violated his right against double jeopardy guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment and the Bill of Rights of the Kansas Constitution.

Discussion: The double jeopardy protection in the Constitution prohibits a second trial following an acquittal.  In State v. Graham, the court established the “goading standard” to evaluate circumstances where the defendant does not object to the mistrial.  Under the goading standard, a double jeopardy claim based on a deadlocked jury exists when the defendant can show that prosecutorial conduct goaded the defendant into not objecting to the mistrial.  Looking to the United States Supreme Court’s interpretation, the Kansas Supreme Court overruled State v. Graham, choosing instead to apply the manifest necessity standard to circumstances when the defendant does not object to a mistrial.   Under the manifest necessity standard, “when a trial court sua sponte declares a jury deadlocked and orders a mistrial when the defendant does not object or consent to the mistrial, retrial should be permitted only when there [is] a manifest necessity for the court’s action.”  Importantly, trial courts have broad discretion to determine whether manifest necessity exists that justifies discharging the jury.  Applying the manifest necessity rule, the court found the district court appropriately declared a mistrial in Kornelson’s first trial. 

Key Authorities:

United States v. Perez, 22 U.S. 579 (1824) (establishing the manifest necessity standard). 

State v. Graham, 277 Kan. 121 (2004) (establishing the goading standard).

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