When a Tie is Really a Win: Hung juries and Mistrials
- 31 Mar
The saying goes that when a game ends in a tie it’s like kissing your sister—not very appetizing for most of us without incestuous impulses. But when you’re talking about a jury trial, a “tie” is usually a win for the defendant, and a loss for the government. But let’s back up. All persons charged with a felony or one of a few specific misdemeanors (including DUI Second offense and Assault on a police officer) in Washington, D.C. are entitled to a trial by jury—a trial before 12 members of the community. In a jury trial, the government must convince these 12 people beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant committed the crime or crimes he is charged with.