What is a hung jury?

Sometimes the jury cannot reach a unanimous decision. This is called a hung jury. In that case, the judge declares a mistrial and the accused may be re-tried.

Often times if a jury is deadlocked, the judge will give a further instruction to the jury that attempts to have the jurors reach a verdict.

“Sometimes juries that have had difficulty reaching a verdict are able to

resume deliberations and successfully reach a verdict [on one or more

counts]. Please consider the following suggestions.

Do not hesitate to reexamine your own views. Fair and effective jury

deliberations require a frank and forthright exchange of views.

Each of you must decide the case for yourself and form your individual

opinion after you have fully and completely considered all of the

evidence with your fellow jurors. It is your duty as jurors to deliberate

with the goal of reaching a verdict if you can do so without surrendering

your individual judgment. Do not change your position just because it

differs from that of other jurors or just because you or others want to

reach a verdict. Both the People and the Defendant are entitled to the

individual judgment of each juror.

It is up to you to decide how to conduct your deliberations. You may

want to consider new approaches in order to get a fresh perspective.

Let me know whether I can do anything to help you further, such as give

additional instructions or clarify instructions I have already given you.

Please continue your deliberations at this time. If you wish to

communicate with me further, please do so in writing [using the form

my bailiff has given you].”

(CalCrim 3551.)

There is no duty for a judge to further instruct the jury like this, and your attorney should fight against these types of instructions that are just meant to help the jury convict. Accordingly, it is important to be vigilant even after the case has gone to the jury because the fight is not over.