Jury Deliberation


Jury deliberation is the process by which a jury in a trial in court discusses in private the findings of the court and decides with which argument to agree upon.  After receiving the jury instructions and hearing the final arguments, the jury retires to the jury room to begin deliberating.  In most states there is a presiding juror.  The presiding juror presides over discussions and votes of the jurors, and often delivers the verdict.  The bailiff ensures that no one communicates with the jury during deliberations.

Jury deliberation is an important factor in the ultimate outcome of the trial.  The deliberation encourages the collective pooling of information and the correction of mistaken conclusions.  Jurors test their interpretations and construal of the evidence during this discussion.  The deliberation process is the phase where individual opinions are expressed and discussed to produce a group decision.  Through these discussions most juries reach a consensus.  Usually the court provides the jury with written forms of all possible verdicts, so that it will be much easier for them to choose a proper verdict form after reaching a decision.  In most instances, the verdict in a criminal case must be unanimous. All federal cases require a unanimous decision.

In most occasions, deliberation produces an agreed upon verdict, but chances of hung juries cannot be disregarded which can lead to a mistrial.  If the jurors are unable to agree on a verdict even after the completion of debate and discussion, it is known as a hung jury.  In such a stage, the case remains undecided, and it may be tried again at a later date before a new jury.