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What is a Mistrial and How Is One Caused?

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2019 | Criminal Charges, Legal Tips |

Court cases don’t always go smoothly, as there are a number of factors that can affect the outcome – some of these can cause a mistrial. A mistrial is a trial that isn’t successfully completed due to some sort of error or problem that occurs during the trial itself. The judge overseeing the case is the only one who can declare a mistrial. When a mistrial is declared the case must stop and neither the judge nor jury will return with a verdict.

What Can Cause A Mistrial?

· The death of a juror or attorney

· Misconduct by a juror, such as contact with one of the parties involved in the case

· A jury’s inability to reach a verdict due to a deadlock

· A juror breaking the rules while court is in session. For instance, using a cellphone during the hearing as in a recent Palm Beach County case where a retired deputy was on trial for fatally shooting his son-in-law. A juror was caught on his phone during closing arguments, and the presiding judge declared the case a mistrial.

What Happens When a Case Suffers From a Mistrial?

A mistrial can be requested by either side of the case, but can only be granted and declared by the judge. Once a mistrial happens, it may be handled in three different ways: the charges can be dismissed, a plea bargain can be reached, or the trial is rescheduled to start again with a new jury at a later date. A new trial can take place as mistrials are not covered in double jeopardy clauses and do not count as the defendant being tried for a second time, as essentially the first time is wiped clear.

If you’re in a situation where you need an attorney to help represent you during a criminal trial, having someone with the experience and pedigree of Russell Spatz on your side can be of great importance. Give him a call today at 305-442-0200 to set up a consultation to see if it’s a right fit for you.


Milian, Jorge. “Juror Misconduct Forces Mistrial in Former PBSO Deputy’s Murder Case.” The Palm Beach Post, The Palm Beach Post, 17 Dec. 2019, Palm Beach Post pbp_breaking_news 2019-12-1718:13:13&utm_content=GCOX_WPB&utm_term=121719.

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