Hung Jury

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Definition: Hung Jury

Quick Summary of Hung Jury

A jury unable to come to a final decision, resulting in a mistrial. Judges do their best to avoid hung juries, typically sending juries back into deliberations with an assurance (sometimes known as a “dynamite charge”) that they will be able to reach a decision if they try harder. If a mistrial is declared, the case is tried again unless the parties settle the case (in a civil case) or the prosecution dismisses the charges or offers a plea bargain (in a criminal case).

What is the dictionary definition of Hung Jury?

Dictionary Definition

n. slang for a hopelessly deadlocked jury in a criminal case, in which neither side is able to prevail.

Usually, it means there is no unanimous verdict (although in Oregon and Louisiana 10 of 12 jurors can convict or acquit). If the jury is hung the trial judge will declare a mistrial. A new trial from scratch, with a new jury panel, is required. The prosecutor can decide not to re-try the case, particularly if a majority of the jury favored acquittal.

Full Definition of Hung Jury

A hung jury refers to a jury who cannot reach a verdict. In a civil case, this means that a jury was unable to find for the plaintiff or for the defendant. In most criminal cases a jury’s decision must be unanimous. If the jury cannot reach a verdict the judge will generally order the jury to continue their deliberations so they can reach a verdict. This practice has been widely questioned and some legal experts argue it may put pressure on some jurists to change their minds.

If the jurors cannot come to a decision the judge is forced to declare a mistrial and the case will end without a judgment. If there is not a verdict the prosecutor can try the case again, negotiate a plea bargain, or drop the charges. The concept of the jury trial is codified in the U.S. Constitution under the Sixth Amendment and the Seventh Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and provides for the right to a jury trial in certain civil cases tried in federal courts.

Cite Term

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Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Hung Jury. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. September 26, 2021
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Hung Jury. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: September 26, 2021).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Hung Jury. Retrieved September 26, 2021, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Hung Jury are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 28th April, 2020 | 8 Views.