HUNG juries are not as common as guilty or not guilty verdicts.
However, either the defense team or the prosecution could benefit from a hung jury.
What is a hung jury?
A jury in a court case represents a body of people who are randomly selected to give a verdict based on evidence they receive in court during a trial.
Most jury decisions end up either voting to give a verdict of either guilty or not guilty. Nevertheless, there are instances where there is a hung jury.
A hung jury occurs when the majority of jurors in a trial are unable to vote one way or the other, to be able to deliver either a not guilty or guilty verdict.
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A hung jury is sometimes referred to as a deadlocked jury.
What happens after a hung jury?
When there is a hung jury, the judge encourages the jury to continue deliberating either once or twice until a verdict is reached. This direction by the judge is also known as an Allen Charge.
If the jury is still not able to agree on a verdict after further deliberation, the judge declares a mistrial because of a hung jury.
When a mistrial is declared, it means the defendant is neither acquitted nor convicted. Rather, it means the case could be retried by the prosecution.
In most instances of a mistrial, the prosecution usually goes through another trial.
Who benefits from a hung jury?
When a hung jury occurs, the defense team is usually at an advantage, while the prosecution is often at a disadvantage.
The defense team benefits because the prosecution has a hard task of trying to surprise the defense team with any new witnesses or unseen evidence because they already exhausted every legal means before the hung jury occurred.
Thus, the defense team is able to block all loopholes and correct any mistakes they made in the first trial since they already know the evidence that has been presented, and can amend what needs to be changed to build a stronger case.
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