Hung juries occur when there’s not a consensus verdict in a trial. Given the significance of the Derek Chauvin trial, conversations have begun about the what-ifs? Commonly conversation has centered around two outcomes perceived to be most likely. A guilty verdict or a hung jury. It’s important to note that no one, not even the most astute “court observers” definitively knows what jurors are thinking. That said we do know how often hung juries occur and when they’re most likely to occur.
A study of 33,000 state prosecuted cases disposed by a jury trial found that 71% ended in a conviction. While 19% ended in an acquittal, 6% with a hung jury, and 4% with a mistrial. So, the most likely outcome for any state prosecuted jury trial is a conviction of the accused and we’ve already avoided the possibility of a mistrial in the Derek Chauvin trial.
Interestingly there are significant geographical variances. Of all metros studied, Los Angeles had the highest rate of hung juries with a near 15% rate. The lowest was in Washington state with a sub 1% hung jury rate. The one metro in Florida which was part of the study was Pinellas County. In Pinellas, the rate of hung juries was less than half of the national average at 2.5%.
Of particular geographic interest to the Derek Chauvin trial, Hennepin County, which encompasses Minneapolis and is where the trial is taking place also has historically had a well below average rate of hung juries with only 2.7% of cases resulting in a hung jury. All of this is to say that not only is it highly likely that there will be a decision, the location where the case is being heard has historically been one of the most decisive in the country.
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