Jodi Arias Verdict: What is a Hung Jury and a Mistrial?

March 5, 2015 Updated: July 18, 2015

The Jodi Arias sentencing trial is Thursday. It was a mistrial, which means that Arias will have to be re-sentenced in the murder of her lover, Travis Alexander.

So what is a hung jury? It’s is when the jury deadlocks on a decision.

“A hung jury is a slang term for a hopelessly deadlocked jury in a criminal case, in which a decision on guilt or innocence cannot be made. Usually it means there is no unanimous verdict , although a couple of states don’t require a unanimous verdict to convict. A mistrial will be declared by the judge in the case of a hung jury, and a new trial with a new jury is required. However,  the prosecutor can decide not to retry the case,” says US Legal on the matter. “The definition of a hung jury varies by jurisdiction. A jury may be counted a jury as hung if it failed to reach a verdict on any charge or on any defendant.”

And, what’s a mistrial?

“A judge may declare a mistrial for several reasons, including lack of jurisdiction, incorrect jury selection, or a deadlocked, or hung, jury. A deadlocked jury—where the jurors cannot agree over the defendant’s guilt or innocence—is a common reason for declaring a mistrial. Extraordinary circumstances, such as death or illness of a necessary juror or an attorney, may also result in a mistrial,” says The Free Legal Dictionary.


Here’s the earlier Associated Press update: 

The jury in the Jodi Arias case will deliberate for a sixth day over whether she should be sentenced to life in prison or death for killing her lover nearly seven years ago.

Jurors went home Wednesday without delivering a verdict.

Earlier this week, Arias’ attorneys said jurors were at an impasse, but the judge denied a mistrial request.

Arias was convicted of murder in 2013 after a lengthy trial that became a sensation with its tawdry revelations about her relationship with victim Travis Alexander.

That jury deadlocked on her punishment.

If the case’s current jury can’t decide on a sentence, the death penalty would be removed as an option and the judge would decide if Arias serves life in prison or gets a chance for release after 25 years.