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What is a Mistrial?

A mistrial is when a trial has been terminated before a judgment has been ruled. Generally, this will occur if the judge feels the trial has been affected by extreme prejudice ultimately affecting the outcome of the trial. One can also be caused by a hung jury; which is when neither side can receive enough juror votes to make a firm verdict. To learn more about mistrials, take a look at the questions below that have been answered by Experts.

What is the basis of a mistrial in a law suit?

Case Details: The defense attorney messed with the witness's files, entered the restroom with the juror's, made up diagnostics test and dates that didn't exist to encourage judgment in their favor.

Generally, a mistrial happens when something occurs that cannot be expected to be overlooked by the jury. The examples above are all grounds for a mistrial. However, first the court would determine if these things have had an impact on the jury and/or damaged the case. The judge will have the final say in this decision. If the judge finds that something has been so prejudicial that it cannot be cured, then he will call a mistrial. Usually, in situations like this, the judge would ask the jurors if the attorney confronted them in the restroom or spoke about the case.

Do the mistrial laws apply to all areas of law?

Generally, mistrials happen in criminal matters but may be used in a civil matter if something occurs in front of the jury that may cause prejudice toward one of the parties in the case. In judge trials, generally this is not used because the judge is fully aware that any prejudice is to be left out of his/her decision.

What recourse does a jurist have if a mistrial was declared because they took notes and left them in the jurist room?

Case Details: Notes were only taken in the jurist room not the courtroom and the judge stated the juror would be charged with contempt.

Many judges prefer that the jurors didn't take notes during a trial. Some judges are very firm in this decision. The judges would rather a juror rely on their mental take of the testimony and evidence during a trial rather than writing the thoughts on paper.

As far as any liability on your part, this will be up to the judge. What you did is not considered a criminal offense, but rather a subjective call by the judge. One could claim they were unaware that taking notes was not allowed and by the bailiff not stopping it affirmed this. It may be that the judge was just expressing his dislike for notes. Generally, judges would prefer not to call a mistrial over something of this nature. Usually, a juror would have to do something extremely wrong for a judge to find them in contempt. Based on the above, it is unlikely the judge would push for a contempt charge over taking notes.

A mistrial can have different legal implications depending on several factors which the judge will determine. When faced with this possibility, being informed of the law as it applies in your case would be the first step in making an informed decision. For accurate and reliable information, consult with legal Experts for a timely answer.


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