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39 Crim. L. Bull. 33 (2003)
The Hung Jury: The American Jury's Insights and Contemporary Understanding

handle is hein.journals/cmlwbl39 and id is 35 raw text is: 

The Hung Jury: The American Jury's
Insights and Contemporary Understanding*

Valerie P. Hans,** Paula L. Hannaford-Agor,' Nicole
L.  Mot and G. Thomas Munsterman*.

     Most juries hear evidence, deliberate together, and deliver a verdict. But
 on occasion, jurors cannot agree upon a verdict, resulting in a hung jury.
 Why  do juries hang? What circumstances and conditions give rise to this ap-
 parent failure of the jury system?
     Writing three decades ago, the social scientist and jury scholar Hans
 Zeisel identified the hung jury as a treasured yet paradoxical phenomenon.'
 It constitutes a treasured symbol of the law's deep respect for the perspective

   * The  research reported here was supported by Grant No. 98-IJ-CX-0048
 awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Depart-
 ment of Justice. to the National Center for State Courts. Points of view are those of
 the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the National
 Institute of Justice or the National Center for State Courts.
   ** Professor of Criminal Justice and Psychology, University of Delaware. B.A.,
 Highest Honors, University of California at San Diego; M.A., Ph.D., University of
   ** Staff Attorney & Senior Court Research Consultant, National Center for State
 Courts. M.P.P., College of William & Mary; J.D., College of William & Mary.
   * Court Research Associate, National Center for State Courts. B.A., St. Olaf
 College; M.A., California State University in Fresno; Ph.D., University of Delaware.
   *   Director, Center for Jury Studies, National Center for State Courts. B.S.,
Northwestern University; M.S.E., George Washington University.
   I Hans Zeisel, . . .And Then There Were None: The Diminution of the Federal
Jury, 38 U. Chi. L. Rev. 710 (1971). The exact origin of the term hung jury to re-
fer to a jury that is unable to arrive at a verdict is unclear to us. Apparently of Amer-
ican origin, the usage of the word hung to refer to juries that cannot agree seems to
match most closely to the meaning of the word hung as caught, stuck, or delayed.
The Oxford English Dictionary (2d ed.) reports the first printed reference to a hung
jury in Edwin Bryant's What I Saw in California 291 (1848-1849): The jury
. . were what is called 'hung'; they could not agree, and the matters in issue,
therefore, remained exactly where they were.
   Mike Widener, Head of Special Collections at Tarlton Law Library, University
of Texas at Austin, reports that the earliest citation of hung jury he located in a law
dictionary (either English or American) is in William C. Anderson's A DICTIO-
NARY   OF LAW   (1889): Hung. Is sometimes applied to a jury which fails to agree
upon a verdict.
   Charles Hallinan of the University of Dayton School of Law reports that a search
of the West and Lexis case databases for hung jury and its variants identifies the
first usage in an 1821 case from Kentucky, Evans v. McKinsey, 16 Ky. 262. In an
action for the recovery of two slaves, the court opinion notes that: one of the
jurors, before the trial, had been heard to say, that he had heard the evidence as to


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