While the concept seems pretty straight forward (having the judge in open court ask individual jurors whether they agree with the verdict), I am constantly surprised at the number of issues that can arise when jurors are polled.
In the latest example, a defense attorney requested that the judge poll the jurors despite receiving a "not guilty" verdict (I am still trying to figure out why this defense attorney made such a request). Well, the first juror, when polled by the judge, stated that she did not agree with the verdict. This led the judge to send the jury back to the jury room for further deliberations. When they returned some time later they found the defendant "guilty" of a lesser charge.
Whidbey News Times: Jury finds woman 'not guilty,' then 'guilty'
The issue of polling or hearkening the jury was also recently on the mind of Howard County (Maryland) Circuit Judge Dennis M. Sweeney. As regular readers of this blog know, Judge Sweeney writes periodic columns on jury related issues. This month's column discusses the case of State v. Santiago. In Santiago, the trial judge after announcing the jury's guilty verdict asked the defense counsel and the prosecutor if there was "anything further for the jury?" Both attorneys replied in the negative and the jury was dismissed. However, the clerk never polled the jurors or requested a harkening of the verdict prior to the jurors being dismissed. The Court of Special Appeals found this misstep detrimental enough to the defendant to overturn the jury's guilty verdict. The case is now on appeal to the state's highest court (Court of Appeals).
Maryland Daily Record: Judge on the Jury: Hearkening, then and now