Allen charge

Definition

An instruction given by a court to a deadlocked jury to encourage it to continue deliberating until it reaches a verdict. Some states prohibit Allen charges, because they deem them coercive, but the U.S. Supreme Court upheld their use in Allen v. U.S., 164 U.S. 492 (1896). Also called dynamite charge, nitroglycerine charge, shotgun charge, and third-degree instruction.

Illustrative caselaw

See, e.g. Lowenfield v. Phelps, 484 U.S. 231 (1988) and Allen v. U.S., 164 U.S. 492 (1896).

See also