Dynamite Charge Law and Legal Definition
Dynamite charge is an admonition by a judge to a jury when it gets deadlocked in reaching a verdict. A judge forces the jury to consider again the matter again and try to reach a verdict. A jury would be instructed to consider each others’ opinions carefully. The difficulties that arise if the case has to be tried again would also be narrated to the jury. Dynamite charge is of a coercive nature and therefore some states prohibit the use of a dynamite charge as a violation of the state constitution. However this practice passed federal constitutional muster in the case of Allen v. United States, 164 U.S. 492 (U.S. 1896) where the court ruled that a judge did have the right to strongly encourage deadlocked jurors to continue deliberations until a verdict is reached. Today, there are a number of variations on the original Allen charge text approved in 1896 The instruction is also known as a dynamite instruction, shotgun instruction, Allen charge , or third-degree instruction.