Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.



decided: January 19, 1973.


Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, March T., 1971, No. 1296, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Christopher Lambert.


David N. Savitt, with him Walsh & Savitt, for appellant.

Louis A. Perez, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, with him Milton M. Stein, Assistant District Attorney, James D. Crawford, Deputy District Attorney, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Jones. Mr. Justice Eagen and Mr. Justice O'Brien concur in the result.

Author: Jones

[ 450 Pa. Page 131]

The appellant, Christopher Lambert, was convicted of second-degree murder by a jury and sentenced to from ten to twenty years' imprisonment. Post-trial motions were filed and denied after a hearing. This counseled direct appeal followed. We affirm the judgment of sentence.

There is only one issue raised in this appeal. The appellant contends that his right to a hung jury and a mistrial was prejudiced by a supplemental instruction given to the jury when they reported they were hopelessly deadlocked after eleven and one-half hours of deliberation. However, since the appellant neither objected to the supplemental instruction at the time it was given, nor at any time sought to have the jury declared hopelesly deadlocked, or to have a mistrial granted, he has waived his right to challenge the supplemental charge on appeal.

After two days of jury selection, testimony in this case began on Wednesday morning and was concluded Thursday at noon. Closing arguments and the charge were given Thursday afternoon and the case went to the jury. The final charge given to the jury concerned the standards they should follow in their deliberations and was taken directly from the model instruction

[ 450 Pa. Page 132]

    promulgated by the American Bar Association Minimum Standards for Criminal Justice, Trial by Jury, ยง 5.4(a), "Length of deliberations; deadlocked jury."*fn1 The jury retired and deliberated for two hours Thursday evening. The jury continued their deliberations for five hours on Friday and four and a half more hours on Saturday (a total of eleven and one-half hours) before informing the court that they were unable to reach a verdict. At that time the trial judge repeated the American Bar Association-approved instruction which had been given earlier.*fn2 Following the supplemental charge, which was not objected to by the appellant, the jury deliberated for two more hours before returning the verdict of guilty of second-degree murder.

[ 450 Pa. Page 133]

The procedure followed by the trial judge was beyond reproach. Indeed, in Commonwealth v. Spencer, 442 Pa. 328, 337, 275 A.2d 299, 304 (1971), where we recognized that "[d]eadlocked juries are a matter of concern to both bench and bar," this Court specifically recommended the use of Section 5.4 of the American Bar Association Minimum Standards when the jury reports they are unable to reach a verdict.

The appellant's contention that the charge given in the instant case had the same coercive impact as the now discredited Allen charge, see Allen v. United States, 164 U.S. 492 (1896), is meritless. Whereas the Allen charge specifically directed minority jurors to listen with deference to the majority position, the charge set out in Section 5.4(a) of the Minimum Standards and given in this case charges that all jurors "have a duty to consult with one another. . . ."

The period of deliberation in this case was not unreasonably long and was spread over three days. The deliberations were interrupted by meals and sleep. No juror complained of illness or fatigue or anything else. Neither the instruction which was given nor the circumstances under which it was given prejudiced the appellant in any way.

Judgment of sentence affirmed.


Judgment of sentence affirmed.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.