: English for Law Students. 2 year. Part 2 - ( ..)

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: 1747


Text 5 deliberation and verdict

Legal deliberation is the process in which a jury in a trial in court discusses in private the findings of the court and decides by vote with which argument to agree of either opposing side. In criminal matters, this can involve both renderingaverdict and determining the appropriate sentence. In civil cases, the decision is whether to agree with the plaintiff or the defendant and the amount and nature of the results of the trial.

A jury that will decide a criminal case must reach a unanimous decision. If even one person does not agree with the decision of the other eleven, the jury cannot deliver a verdict. A jury that is unable to agree on whether to convict or acquit is called a hung jury (or deadlocked jury). When a judge is convinced that the members of a jury have had enough time to thoroughly consider and discuss all the evidence, but that they are unable to come to a unanimous decision, the judge must declare a mistrial. It means that the victims family will have to go through trial preparation again and another jury will have to go through the same experience. A retrial following a hung jury does not violate the Fifth Amendments prohibition against double jeopardy, which generally prevents a person from being tried twice for the same offense. The prosecution may or may not choose to retry the accused. A jury that will hear a civil case may contain fewer than the usual twelve members. Another big difference is that a civil jury does not have to reach a unanimous decision. That means the court can accept a verdict agreed by five of the six jurors, or ten of the twelve.

After the verdict is delivered, the judge dismisses the jury. Depending on how long the trial lasted and the rules governing the length of jury service, jurors will either be free to leave or will have to report back to the jury assembly room. Sometimes lawyers want to talk to jurors after a case is finished in order to find out why they reached that particular decision. The lawyers believe the feedback may help them learn what the strong points were in their presentation and what they could have done better. People who have served on a jury can decide whether they want to talk to the lawyer or not.

One of the most famous dramatic examples of this phase of a trial in practice is the film 12 Angry Men. It has also been said that the longer a jury

takes while deliberating a verdict, the lower the success rate for the prosecution


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