Scales of justice

Getting a Hung Jury

DEFENDANT: The State charged an Executive Director of a non-profit with fraudulent billing practices.

CHARGE: The State alleged that the Executive Director misused public funds.

WORK: Jury selection assistance was provided by preparing case-specific juror profiles, evaluating jurors’ responses during voir dire, making recommendations of jurors to excuse, and conducting post-verdict juror interviews to prepare for re-trial.

CHALLENGE: The defendant, an unsympathetic and disliked boss, faced hostile employees given immunity by the prosecution in exchange for their testimony.

JURY DYNAMICS: Juror #8, a well-educated and recently retired professor, was evaluated in voir dire as likely to identify with the defendant and respond well to the idea that people can be falsely accused. One-third of the jury agreed with this juror’s leaning at the start of deliberations. This juror was the sole remaining holdout juror at the end of deliberations. The jury hung on every count.

ALTERNATES: Juror #8 was initially an alternate. Alternates are often more extreme, for both sides, than initially seated jurors. Three of the four alternates in this case were evaluated in voir dire as strongly defense-oriented. Both alternates who were seated were part of the 1/3 of the jury leaning toward the defense at the start of deliberations.

Hung jury frequency

Lone holdouts


Read Dr. Kellermann's article on Why Juries Hang pdf.

Note: Juror evaluations are case-specific, valid only for the facts and circumstances of a specific case, and should not be applied to any other case. Research in criminal cases reveals that differences between prosecution-oriented and defense-oriented jurors depend on case-specific issues.

Want more about hung juries? See Hung Jury in OJRU blawg