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Your New York medical malpractice jury is deadlocked-what happens next?

 

A:

The end of your trial has arrived. Closing arguments have been given by both sides. The judge has given the law to the jury as it applies to your case.

The jury is now deliberating.

Minutes turn into hours. Hours turn into days. Finally, the jury sends a note to the judge letting him know that they are deadlocked.

What happens next?

The judge will show the note to all attorneys and then will likely bring the jury into the courtroom to reinstruct them on what to do. It is likely the judge will tell them that they should continue deliberating and make every effort to listen to what all the jurors have to say and take into consideration everyone's opinion. They will then be asked to go back and continue deliberating.

Again, minutes turn into hours which turn into days. The jury comes back with another note saying that they are still deadlocked. What happens then?

Depending upon the length of time the jury has taken and depending upon which questions they are stuck on, the judge will have another discussion with the lawyers to determine the best approach on how to proceed.

No one wants to declare a mistrial because of a deadlocked jury. All involved have invested time, energy and resources to try the case. This would be true for all involved as well as the court.

The judge wants a decision.

The plaintiff's attorney wants a decision.

The defense attorney wants a decision.

If the jury is unable to reach a conclusion, then all the litigants and the court lose. By declaring a mistrial, it simply means that all the litigants must start over again from scratch and select a new jury to hear the trial.

It is possible that the judge will advise the jury to return once again to the jury room to continue their deliberations and hash out whatever disputes or disagreements they still have.

There is no definitive time limit or time frame that the court must give the jury within which to render a decision. If, after all attempts to continue deliberating have failed to achieve a jury verdict, then the court will likely have no other option but to declare a mistrial and order that the case start all over again in the near future.