Why Might a Trial Be Declared a Mistrial?

If you are charged with a crime in Massachusetts, you have the right to defend yourself against those charges, and have the right to a trial by a jury of your peers. In some cases, however, a trial may be declared a mistrial, which means that the trial is not successfully completed. A mistrial may occur for a variety of reasons, but always indicates that justice cannot be served.

The following considers some of the reasons why a trial might be declared a mistrial, as well as what the consequences of a mistrial are. If you have more questions, or if you have been charged with a crime in Massachusetts, contact our law offices today.

Why Mistrials Occur

Again, a mistrial means that a trial cannot be successfully completed because justice cannot be served. Some of the most common reasons why a trial might be declared a mistrial include:

One of the jurors dies before the trial is complete or before the jury can issue a unanimous decision;
One of the jury members engages in misconduct, such as communicating with the family of a victim who the defendant is accused of harming;
The jury cannot reach a unanimous decision, often referred to as a “deadlock”; or
A judicial error occurs during the trial that is fundamentally unfair to the defendant, and biases the jury against them, such as showing the jury illegally obtained evidence.

If your attorney believes that a mistrial has occurred, they can file a motion with the judge. The judge has the right to grant the mistrial, or deny the motion (judges can also declare a mistrial on their own without a motion being filed). The prosecution also has the right to file a motion for a mistrial.

What Are the Consequences of a Mistrial?

If you are charged with a crime and a judge declares a mistrial, this does not necessarily mean that you’re free to go. While the prosecution may choose to drop charges against you depending upon the details of the case, this is unlikely; instead, a mistrial typically means that new jury will be selected, and the process will begin anew. While this can be in your favor if a gross breach of justice occurred, which could have resulted in an unfair conviction, going through a trial a subsequent time can be emotionally exhausting, and may mean more time behind bars while you wait for the trial to conclude.

Our Massachusetts Law Firm Advocates for You

At The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski, our experienced Massachusetts defense lawyer advocates for you during every step of the criminal process. If Paul R. Moraski believes that your constitutional rights have been violated, he will quickly file a motion for a mistrial with a judge, and ensure that you are protected.

For legal representation that you can count on, please contact our law office today. You can reach Paul on his cell today at 978-397-0011. Our office is here to work hard for you!