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mistrial

n. the termination of a trial before its normal conclusion because of a procedural error, statements by a witness, judge or attorney which prejudice a jury, a deadlock by a jury without reaching a verdict after lengthy deliberation (a "hung" jury), or the failure to complete a trial within the time set by the court. When such situations arise, the judge, either on his own initiative or upon the motion (request) of one of the parties will "declare a mistrial," dismiss the jury if there is one and direct that the lawsuit or criminal prosecution be set for trial again, starting from the beginning.

See also: trial 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications