The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld the convictions in 2006 of a man in Pocahontas County who was charged with attempting to kill his ex-wife, her boyfriend and his son. Richard Guidry was charged with three counts of attempted murder and five other charges after he allegedly fired a shotgun into his ex-wife Holly’s car, injuring Holly, his son, and Holly’s boyfriend.
The case went to the jury at five p-m on Friday July 21, 2006 and the jury deliberated until around 10 p.m. before breaking and coming back Saturday morning at 11 A.M. After two hours of deliberation Saturday they told the judge they had reached a unanimous decision on the lesser charges, but were at a standstill on the three counts of attempted murder. The judge met with the lawyers from both sides and instructed the jury to continue deliberating.
After three more hours of deliberation, the jury sent the judge a note saying they were still deadlocked on two attempted murder charges and they wanted to go home and come back Tuesday. The judge again met with the lawyers and then sent the jury the instruction to continue deliberating as he found “great risk” in adjourning for a period two days.
The jury then deliberated for another hour before returning a verdict of guilty on seven of the original counts while reducing one count of attempted murder to a lesser charge of assault with intent to inflict serious injury. Guidry appealed saying his lawyer should have objected to the judge’s second instruction as it was improperly coercive. He says the jury was clearly deadlocked and the second instruction was an attempt to pressure the jurors to reach a verdict. Guidry pointed out that the jury was deliberating on a weekend and it reached a verdict soon after the second instruction.
The appeals court ruled the jury took a reasonable amount of time to reconsider the issue after the judge’s second instructions and those instructions were not coercive.