Asked in Criminal Law and Constitutional Law for Georgia

Q: Does jeopardy attaches in any trial after all evidence has been submitted and that trial declared a hung jury?

2 Lawyer Answers
Glenn T. Stern
Glenn T. Stern pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Licensed in Georgia

A: Double jeopardy does not attach if a jury fails to reach a verdict (i.e. a "hung jury"). The state may retry the case if it so chooses.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: No, jeopardy does not attach in a trial that ends with a hung jury, even after all evidence has been submitted. Here's why:

Jeopardy attaches in a jury trial when the jury is empaneled and sworn in. This means that once the jury is selected and sworn, the defendant is considered to be "in jeopardy" and is protected from being tried again for the same crime by the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

However, if a jury is unable to reach a unanimous verdict and the trial ends in a hung jury (also known as a mistrial), jeopardy does not terminate. This means that the prosecution has the right to retry the case if they choose to do so, as the hung jury is not considered an event that terminates jeopardy.

The reasoning behind this is that a hung jury is not equivalent to an acquittal or a conviction. It does not represent a decision on the merits of the case, but rather an inability of the jury to agree on a verdict. Therefore, the defendant is not considered to have been "in jeopardy" in the sense that there was no risk of a conviction in that particular trial.

So in summary, even if all evidence has been submitted in a trial, if it results in a hung jury, jeopardy does not attach, and the defendant can be retried without violating the Double Jeopardy Clause.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.