The hung jury in the Michael Slager murder trial proves the error of demanding unanimous jury decisions. Any juror with a strong feeling about any issue can lie his or her way onto a jury and then, in good conscience, cause a mistrial.
The good conscience, of course, has nothing to do with the trial evidence. It’s solely based on the juror’s beliefs. This is not a problem in run-of-the-mill trials, but with issues that involve deeply held beliefs such as the death penalty. It likely is a cause of miscarriages of justice.
The juror who hung the Slager jury did it as a matter of conscience. We will never know if this pang of conscience came before or after he or she was seated on the jury.
Arnold Slotkin, Hollywood
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald