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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.

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