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Why Would a Judge Call a Mistrial?

If a judge decides to call a mistrial in a case, it means that the trial cannot and will not be successfully completed. The trial is terminated and declared void before the jury or judge renders a verdict or decision. However, it does not mean that there will not be a future trial. In most cases, the trial is reset for a different time with a different jury.

Either side of the case can make a motion for a mistrial, and there are several reasons why a mistrial may be called by the judge. Here are some reasons why a mistrial may be called.

A Mistrial May be Called If...

  • There is a fundamental error that is deemed unfair to the defendant that cannot be reversed by instructions to the jury.
  • There is a death of a juror or attorney.
  • Juror misconduct. This can include the jurors having inappropriate contact with either side, conducting personal investigations, or using evidence that was not presented during the trial.
  • An impropriety in the drawing of the jury that is discovered during the trial.

South Florida Defense Attorney Gets New Trial After Mistrial Called

In a recent case, a defense attorney who was on trial herself for injuring an officer during a high-speed chase in Gulf Breeze will receive a new trial after the judge in her case called a mistrial. The judge decided to call the mistrial after a Santa Rosa County deputy misspoke in front of the jury, causing a situation where the jury could not "un-hear" the information that was presented in error.

The defendant was originally pulled over for a DUI, but was arrested and charged with aggravated battery and resisting arrest after she led deputies on a high-speed chase. The DUI charge was later dropped. Prior to trial, the judged informed both sides of the case that they were to not bring up the dropped DUI. However, during the defense's questioning of a deputy who was the last witness on the stand, the deputy mentioned the DUI as part of her explanation of the booking process. The defense objected to this introduction of the dropped charge, and the judge decided to call a mistrial based on an error that was deemed to be unfair to the defendant. A new trial was set for a later date.

If you are charged with a crime and must go to trial, it's extremely important that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands and knows how to best present your case. Your defense attorney can help you best navigate the charges against you, and may be able to assist you with reducing charges in your case.

References:

Advertisement. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2017, from https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_related_education_network/how_courts_work/mistrials.html

Phillips, J. (n.d.). Judge declares mistrial in Florida attorney's high-speed chase case. Retrieved October 31, 2017, from http://weartv.com/news/local/judge-declares-mistrial-in-florida-attorneys-high-speed-chase-case

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