Sealed Verdict Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Sealed Verdict?

(n) A sealed verdict is the decision taken by a jury recorded and kept in sealed envelop but could not be announced until the required procedural compliances. Though the orders are finalized it is not effective until it is read.

History and Meaning of Sealed Verdict

A sealed verdict, in legal terms, refers to the decision made by a jury that is recorded and kept in a sealed envelope. This decision cannot be announced until all required procedural compliances are met. Even though the orders are finalized, the verdict is not effective until it is read aloud.

In the United States, this practice of using sealed verdicts dates back to colonial times when juries were required to record their verdicts but were also fearful of retribution if their decision went against the crown. Therefore, they sealed their verdicts to prevent retaliation against themselves and their families. Over time, this practice was adopted by the American judicial system to prevent jury tampering and ensure impartiality.

Examples of Sealed Verdict

  1. In a high-profile murder case, the jurors reached a sealed verdict, which will be read out in court after all legal formalities are completed.

  2. At the time of the deliberations, the jurors had agreed on a verdict, but the judge ordered a sealed verdict until the procedural compliances were resolved.

  3. In a landmark case, the jury delivered a sealed verdict that was read in court much later, affecting the final outcome of the case.

Legal Terms Similar to Sealed Verdict

  1. Jury Nullification: The practice of a jury delivering a verdict based on its interpretation of the law, rather than the instructions provided by the judge.

  2. Hung Jury: When a unanimous decision cannot be reached among jurors, the judge may declare a mistrial, leading to a new trial with a new jury.

  3. Verdict: A formal decision made by a jury or a judge in a legal case, determining the guilt or innocence of a defendant.