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MISTRIAL

a trial that has been terminated and declared void prior to the jury's returning a verdict (or the judge's declaring his or her verdict in a nonjury trial) because of some extraordinary circumstance (such as death or illness of a necessary juror or of an attorney), or because of some fundamental error prejudicial to the defendant that cannot be cured by appropriate instructions on to the jury (such as the inclusion of highly improper remarks in the prosecutor's summation), or most commonly because of the jury's inability to reach a verdict because it is hopelessly deadlocked in its deliberations (hung jury). Mistrial does not result in a judgment for any party, but merely indicates a failure of trial.

Compare double jeopardy.
Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; © 2016

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