Hung Jury Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Hung Jury, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Hung Jury?

(n) Hung Jury is the situation when the jury cannot reach a unanimous or enforceable decision in a criminal case due to a deadlocking of the affairs among the juries and none of the side could prevail the situation

History and Meaning of Hung Jury

A hung jury refers to the situation where the jury in a criminal case fails to reach a unanimous decision. This means that the jurors are deadlocked and cannot agree on a verdict. It is a situation that can arise in any trial, and it can happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes, the evidence is ambiguous, and jurors may have difficulty interpreting it. Other times, a single juror may hold out for a different verdict, resulting in a deadlock.

The term "hung jury" has its origins in 19th-century America, where it was first used to describe situations where jurors were unable to agree on a verdict. The term "hung" comes from the idea that the jury is "hanging" in suspense as it tries to reach a decision.

Examples of Hung Jury

  1. The trial ended in a hung jury, with eleven jurors voting in favor of a guilty verdict and one holding out for innocence.

  2. After several days of deliberation, the jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision and the judge was forced to declare a mistrial due to a hung jury.

  3. During the trial, the jury appeared to be divided, with some jurors openly discussing their doubts about the defendant's guilt. In the end, the trial ended in a hung jury, with the judge ordering a retrial.

Legal Terms Similar to Hung Jury

  1. Mistrial: When the trial ends abruptly and the judge declares that the jury is unable to agree on a verdict.
  2. Acquittal: A verdict of not guilty that exonerates the defendant of criminal charges.
  3. Conviction: A verdict of guilty that results in a sentence being handed down to the defendant if it's upheld.