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