Hung Jury Retrial Statistics

Records show that retrials of deadlocked jury decisions aren’t as common as previously thought. 

Hung jury retrials across US court jurisdictions are less than 5%, with less than 30% of these retrials ending with a conviction.  

Understanding the hung jury trial phenomenon is easier when correct data is available to provide more context to jurors’ decisions. That’s why this article looks at ten (10) major hung jury retrial statistics in the US. 

1. A US longitudinal study puts hung jury rates around 2% to 3%

National Center for State Courts

A detailed study shows that hung jury rates across America hover around 2 – 3% on average. Court jurisdictions with a massive scope, more cases, and busier schedules are more likely to entertain deadlocked decisions. 

2. Only two (2) US states allowed non-unanimous verdicts in criminal trials until 2020

Oregon and Louisiana were the two US states that allowed non-unanimity in jury decisions, thereby avoiding deadlocked trials. However, recent changes to how verdicts are interpreted in both states have changed such decisions, especially in Louisiana.

3. A US study found around 5% of hung juries in over 3,500 criminal trials

Center for Jury Studies

The numbers from a US study show that about 175 out of 3,500 criminal trials will end in hung jury decisions at first vote. Several factors like disputable evidence or defense attorney skills might cause jurors to reach hung decisions. 

4. Over 26% of hung jury retrials end with a conviction

Bureau of Justice Statistics

Records show that about 13 out of every 50 hung jury retrials in the US will end with a conviction. Hung jury retrials may provide jurors with more evidence and furnish them with new facts to interpret the law correctly.  

5. Over 12% of hung jury rates in DC were hung on all counts

National Center for State Courts

More than 1 in 10 hung jury decisions across courts in the District of Columbia were deadlocked on every count. With more than 12% of deadlocked jury decisions, DC ranks among jurisdictions where multiple hung jury retrials take place annually. 

6. The rate of hung jury retrials in the Bronx jurisdiction is 3.1%

Bureau of Justice Statistics

Hung jury decisions that require retrials across Bronx courts stand at 3.1%. The figures mean that around 1 out of every 50 jury decisions in Bronx courts will be deadlocked and need retrials.

7. Eleven (11) major factors determine whether a hung jury decision will occur in US courts

Court Statistics Project

A dozen elements across four sections (demographics, evidence, complexity, and deliberations) determine whether hung jury decisions will happen in courts. These elements are:

  1. Type of court – federal courts (less likely to have hung jury decisions) or state courts (more likely to have hung jury decisions)
  2. Charge count – more charges against defendant(s) increases chances of having hung jury decisions
  3. Case complexity – complex nature of some cases might bring juries to deadlocked decisions. However, the same isn’t true for judges with complex cases to interpret before judgments. 
  4. Evidence ambiguity – the absence of irrefutable evidence makes it easy to reach close calls or deadlocked (hung) decisions
  5. Credibility of police testimony – hung juries are likely to disagree with police testimony tied to a deadlocked case
  6. Believability of defendant – testimonies of some defendants may not be believed by all jurors, leading to a hung decision
  7. Attorney competence – skills of defense attorneys could cause more favorable decisions and cause a hung jury decision
  8. Vote timing – jurors’ vote might hang if they vote prematurely during deliberations
  9. Deliberations structure – deliberations driven by evidence are less likely to hang than those based on other methods to seek verdicts
  10. Dynamism of jurors – some hung juries might report conflict among jurymen or women amid deliberations
  11. Perception of laws’ fairness – some hung juries might disagree with the interpretation of legally correct outcomes and vote to hang the entire decision

8. US state court jurisdictions have an average hung jury rate of 6.2%

Bureau of Justice Statistics

Collated numbers show that US state court hung decisions are about 6.2% nationwide. Figures compiled across several sources vary widely and are dependent on factors unique to some districts. 

9. Hung jury decisions in four major US districts from first to last vote stands at 4%

National Center for State Courts

The Bronx (NY), Maricopa (AZ), Los Angeles (CA), and DC district courts, throughout all votes currently return 4% deadlocked decisions. What this figure means is that 2 out of 50 jury decisions across these counties will hang across several votes. 

10. 24% of jury decisions are likely to hang at first vote based on ambiguity of evidence

Bureau of Justice Statistics

Collated figures show that about 24 out of every 100 jury decisions might hang at its first vote. Ambiguous evidence is the main reason why jury decisions could hang at its initial vote count.

Evidence that could be deemed inadmissible, disputed, or proven to be misrepresentative might cause jury decisions to hang. However, the numbers show that about 76% of jury decisions are not deadlocked at first vote.