When Jurors Don’t Get Along

The New York Times ran an interesting article on 5/30/2018 regarding a hotly contested criminal trial in Federal District Court in New York. The trial involves charges against a former elected official who is accused of public corruption in a bribery and kickback scheme.

After 7 days of deliberations, one of the jurors failed to report for duty due to a claim of illness. As it turned out, the juror was not really ill, but refused to return because the deliberations had degenerated into cursing and name-calling.

The defense immediately asked for a mistrial.

The judge denied the mistrial because the jury had not said it had reached an impasse and seated an alternate juror. The judge then instructed the jury to disregard the entirety of its deliberations and to begin again from the start.

After 7 very difficult, rancorous days of deliberations, what do you think the chances are of the jury following the judge’s instructions to start over?

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