Mistrials happen for many reasons, most of them happening when there is a failure to return a unanimous verdict. Mistrials are a way for the judge or jury to go to trial to discuss issues so that they can go forth with the actual trial. If a judge believes that jurors have researched a case on their own or there was serious misconduct by a party, these are all good reasons to have a mistrial.
One of the many reasons why mistrials occur is due to prosecutorial misconduct. This is when prosecutors cross the line when they are dealing with trial tactics. Sometimes this happens when they introduce evidence that is inadmissible or ask questions that the jury is not supposed to hear. Because everyone makes mistakes, these slip-ups will happen from time to time in trial. Defendants then have the ability to ask for a mistrial because they believe that the jury was tainted by the questions. Most of the time, this will lead to the judge trying again, settling the case, or dismissing it altogether.
A hung jury occurs when there are insufficient jurors giving a guilty or not guilty verdict. This happens after the judge has already directed them to deliberate further to come to a conclusion. When there is no verdict, the case cannot go on and a hung jury is the last option. Mistrials are best avoided because, when they occur, the defendant is neither convicted nor acquitted. In today’s cases, there are many questions on whether or not a retrial after a hung jury is really constitutional. However, we find that these cases are permitted these days more often than not. Hung juries are usually better for the defendant than a conviction, however.
If you are involved in a case that includes a mistrial, you want to understand why. Now you know some of the reasons why they occur, but what can we do for you to move forward? Give us a call today to receive the answers you deserve.