The jury in the Bill Cosby case has been trying to reach a decision on the criminal charges against him for 3 days now. Yesterday I was interviewed by the Associated Press about the possibility of a deadlocked verdict. Still not sure how I was called by the Associated Press but here is what I said:
Q: What happens if they tell the judge they are deadlocked?
A: Pittsburgh defense attorney Bernard Tully, a former prosecutor, said judges usually encourage jurors facing an impasse to try again, respecting one another’s opinions, before they are willing to declare a mistrial.
“The language, a lot of times, that triggers this (is) if they come back and say, ‘We’re hopelessly deadlocked and there’s no reasonable amount of additional deliberations that would cause us to change our views,'” Tully said. “At that point, in all likelihood, the judge would declare a mistrial.”
Q: Short of a mistrial, can the judge take other action?
A: Judges have discretion to remove individual jurors under certain conditions.
Tully said the judge would need “some foundation or basis for that radical step,” more than simply hearing that someone has dug in their heels.
“Jurors are not required to give up a real belief just to reach a verdict,” Tully said.
Q: What happens to Cosby if there’s a hung jury?
A: The charges would stand. Prosecutors would get four months to decide whether to retry the case or abandon it. Tully said Cosby would likely get the same bail conditions — he is free on $1 million bond — as he has attended all the hearings.
Q: How do prosecutors decide whether to retry a case that produced a hung jury?
A: Prosecutors can ask the jurors who could not reach a verdict if they will discuss what occurred. If they give the district attorney the sense there were several people willing to acquit, that would complicate a decision to retry him, Tully said.
“I would think they’d listen very heavily to what the jurors had to say, if they’ll talk,” Tully said.
Readers, by the time you read this article, the jury may have reached a verdict. Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney Bernard Tully believes all we can do is wait and see if they reach a verdict on one or all of the charges.
There are other twists to any potential verdict. For example, what if the jury reaches a verdict on only 1 of the 3 charges? The prosecution could decide to retry Cosby on the remaining 2 charges which they jury could not reach a verdict on. Stay tuned…