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Right to a Unanimous Jury Verdict

WI Court of Appeals – District I

Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. Adewole A. Burks

Case No.: 2022AP000238-CR

Officials: Brash, C.J., Dugan and White, JJ.

Focus: Right to a Unanimous Jury Verdict

Burks appeals from his judgment of conviction, entered upon a jury’s verdict, for first-degree reckless injury by use of a dangerous weapon. The count arose from an incident in which Burks allegedly shot G.D.K. four times in January 2019 during a physical dispute. Burks argued he acted in self-defense during the shooting. He also appeals from the order denying his motion for postconviction relief. Burks argues that he was denied his right to a unanimous jury verdict in his conviction. The appeals court concludes that the trial court, when faced with unambiguous dissent to the verdict during jury polling, erroneously exercised its discretion by not choosing one of the two options under Wisconsin law in such a situation: to either return the jurors to deliberations or grant a mistrial. Therefore, Burks was denied a unanimous verdict.

Reversed and Remanded.

Decided 05/16/23

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