Cases & Deals

Pro bono client obtains not guilty verdict on first-degree murder charges; appeal on second-degree murder pending

Clients Jackson, Rodney Donta

Jones Day attorneys accepted a community appointment to represent Rodney Jackson against state murder charges.

The jury trial lasted six court days, and Jones Day lawyers successfully argued for and obtained the self-defense jury instruction. After deliberating overnight, the Hennepin County jury found Rodney Jackson not guilty of first-degree murder. He was found guilty of second-degree murder, and the court sentenced him to the bottom of the applicable guidelines range.

Following his conviction on the second-degree murder charge, irregularities in the jury deliberations came to light. The court took the rare step of granting a post-verdict evidentiary hearing to examine the jurors about potential outside evidence considered during deliberations and going directly to the issue of self-defense.

After a two-day evidentiary hearing, the district court ultimately overruled Mr. Jackson's motion for a new trial. His appeal is pending. Jones Day is not handling the appeal.