J. Patrick Quillian, P.C.

J. Patrick Quillian Attorney At Law

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November 2017 Archives

When Does a Mistrial Occur in a Criminal Case?

One of the most closely watched trials in recent years was Bill Cosby’s 2017 trial for sexual assault. Observers waiting for either a not guilty or guilty verdict got neither when the jury could not agree on a verdict and the judge declared a mistrial. Which raises the question of what exactly a mistrial is, when it happens, and what happens next for a defendant in a criminal case where a mistrial has been declared.

What a Mistrial Is and When It Happens

Essentially, a mistrial is an order by the judge presiding over a criminal case that the trial can no longer continue, and the trial comes to an end. The most common reason for a mistrial is the one we saw in the Bill Cosby where there was a hung jury, which is a jury that cannot reach a unanimous decision for either guilt or innocence. Jury voting requirements differ from state to state (as well as in federal criminal trials), thus unanimity is not necessarily always required. Nevertheless, when the jury cannot meet the requisite standards for either a guilty or not guilty verdict, a mistrial will result.

Do I Have to Consent and Allow the Police to Search My Car in Oklahoma?

Many times arrests for drug and gun offenses, among other crimes, happen after the police have stopped a car and asked to search the car, and the driver has allowed the police to do so. For most people, when a police officer pulls them over and asks to search the car, a person can feel like they have no choice to let the police officer do what he wants. But is it legal for a police officer to do so? And, if so, can prosecutors use whatever is found in the car in convicting the person? Police can search a car when the driver gives consent, but a critical question is whether the consent was actually voluntary. If it was not, you may be able to have any contraband seized in the search thrown out of your case.

You Do Not Have to Give Consent to Police to Search Your Car

Under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, all persons are protected against searches and seizures in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy. This includes your person (e.g. what is in your pockets) and your home as well as your vehicle.

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