Say Mike the Murderer is on trial and there's no doubt he's the murderer. 12 jurors meet. All of them think he's obviously guilty, except for one David the dissenter.

Is there any way the other 11 jurors can stop David from hanging the court? In particular, in the case that David is a bad-acting juror.

For example

  1. David brags to the other jurors that he wants Mike the Murderer to go free because he's sexy
  2. David says he hates the other jurors and is hanging the jury to spite them

This is just one example of the broader question of if jurors are allowed to disqualify each other. One final example I want to give is: what if it so happens that two people on the jury are boss Bob and employee Emma? Emma has every reason not to stand up against boss Bob during jury deliberation. What are Emma and Bob supposed to do in this case? And what about the other 10 jurors, if this comes to light?

1 Answer 1


Jurors cannot directly disqualify each other. However, they can inform the trial judge if they have reason to believe that one of their peers should be discharged. The judge will then allow the lawyers for both sides to ask the juror questions before deciding to dismiss them. In some jurisdictions, the judge may be required to hold a hearing to examine the evidence. Jurors may also be charged with contempt of court for interfering with a defendant's right to a fair trial, and could be disqualified from jury service in the future.

Your examples of juror misconduct point at bias or refusal to deliberate, e.g. when the juror has made up their mind ahead of time (but not because they are using faulty logic). Depending on the jurisdiction, the trial may continue with a smaller jury. In some jurisdictions, the judge will have to declare a mistrial if no replacement juror can be found.

See: Juror misconduct

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    This said, this is extremely uncommon once a jury begins deliberation, and is only very rarely successful absent an instance of bribery or something similar, and even then, the more common remedy would be to declare a mistrial and start over, rather than to merely disqualify the juror.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Nov 7, 2022 at 5:20
  • @ohwilleke: As I understand, the ideal time to resolve and dismiss jurors during jury selection - where ideally voir dire would each lawyer the possibility to reject a juror candidate. And if something like this came up, it'd likely come up then, like discussed here. Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 5:08
  • "Jurors may also be charged with contempt of court for interfering with a defendant's right to a fair trial" - But what if they are just trying to make it MORE fair?
    – jqning
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 4:23

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