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A hung jury is a jury that cannot agree upon a verdict after an extended period of deliberation and is deadlocked with irreconcilable differences of opinion.  Image File history File links Gnome-globe. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... In law, a verdict indicates the judgment of a case before a court of law. ... This article refers to legal deliberation; for other meanings of the word refer to its Wiktionary entry. ... It has been suggested that Circular wait be merged into this article or section. ...
Juries in criminal cases are generally required to reach a unanimous verdict, while juries in civil cases typically have to reach some set level of majority consensus short of unanimity. In jurisdictions giving the litigants a choice of jury size (such as between a six-person and twelve-person jury), defense counsel in both civil and criminal cases frequently opt for the larger number of jurors. A hung jury is generally regarded as the next best thing to a defense verdict, so the larger size of the jury increases the chances of dissension. A common axiom in criminal cases is that "it takes only one to hang," referring to the fact that, in some cases, a single juror can defeat the necessary unanimity.
One method of dealing with the difficulties associated with hung juries has been the introduction of majority verdicts. This measure allows juries to convict defendants without unanimous agreements amongst the jurors. Hence, a 12-member jury that would otherwise be deadlocked at 11 for conviction and 1 against, would be recorded as a guilty verdict for the defendant. The rationale for majority verdicts usually includes arguments involving so-called 'rogue jurors' who unreasonably impede the course of justice. Opponents of the introduction of majority verdicts argue that it undermines public confidence in criminal justice systems and results in a higher number of individuals convicted of crimes they did not commit.
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