Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
When D.C. Superior Court Judge Russell Canan asked for the verdict in a 2004 firearm-violation case, he got an unusual response from the jury foreman: “Guilty technically, with an addendum.” Canan’s attempts to explain there was no such thing as “technical guilt” may have confused jurors into believing they couldn’t change their verdict to not guilty during further deliberations. At least that’s what the D.C. Court of Appeals said Nov. 9 when it reversed the conviction of Alvin Headspeth, who was arrested by D.C. police during a commotion outside the 2003 homecoming football game at Cardozo High School. At trial, Headspeth testified that someone placed a gun in his unlocked car and he put it under his daughter’s car seat because he wasn’t going to tell police “there’s a gun while all the fighting was going on.” On two other firearms charges, the jury deadlocked or found Headspeth not guilty. But on a misdemeanor charge of possession of an unregistered firearm, the jury foreman said, “The jury unanimously agrees the defendant technically violated the law,” but several jurors “believe he did not violate it in spirit.” At that point, “the fundamental unanimity of the jury on the guilty verdict . . . had been called into question,” the appeals court ruled. When two jurors then expressed reservations in open court about the guilty verdict, Canan should have granted a mistrial on the charge, the appellate opinion states. After the jury repeatedly requested a light sentence for Headspeth, Canan also failed to remind the jury near the end of the trial that its recommendation was not binding on the court, the opinion states. Still, Canan wound up sentencing Headspeth to just one year of supervised probation.
Brendan Smith can be contacted at [email protected].

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.