There are different ways your case may be concluded. In addition to receiving a “not guilty” or “guilty” verdict, a judge may declare a mistrial—or the jury may not be able to deliver one. When that happens, the jury is said to be deadlocked, or you have a “hung jury.” Though it is essential to understand what these terms mean, it is also critical to know what happens after. For example, if a jury comes back and says they are hopelessly deadlocked, will you have to go back to trial later? Let us explain:
When a mistrial is declared, everything that happened during the trial is voided. It is important to note that a mistrial does not equate to an acquittal. In most instances, a mistrial means that the defendant would be starting over, meaning could decide to go to trial again, enter a plea of guilty or perhaps, in very rare circumstances, the prosecution decides that they do not wish to retry the case. Either your attorney or the prosecution can motion for a mistrial. There are several instances when this may happen.
During the trial, juries are given specific instructions about who they can talk to. If, for example, your attorney discovers a juror has spoken to their friends and family about the case—or posted things on social media, then your attorney may ask for a mistrial. Other examples include a key witness becoming unavailable or the jury hearing and seeing inadmissible evidence that will impact their deliberations negatively against the accused.
For all criminal cases in Federal court and the State of Florida, the jury’s decision must be unanimous. Since an accused is innocent until proven guilty, it means that If you have been charged with a federal crime, 12 jurors must conclude that the government has proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt for you to be found guilty. Should one juror disagree, you have a hung jury. Given the circumstances and conditions, a judge may urge the jury to deliberate further.
A hung jury is another way a judge can declare a mistrial. The prosecution will need to decide whether they want to retry the case. Their decision will depend on various things including the type of case and the strength of their evidence. They still need to convince a new set of 12 jurors that you have committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Many people who get arrested feel alone or ostracized from their community. At Puglisi Law, we are committed to supporting you and your family throughout your case. Clients are people who need help, and our goal is to provide it for you. Contact us today for a free consultation, and we look forward to learning how we can assist you.