What would you do if you were judged in a trial, and one jury’s holdout would save your life? It would feel like a huge weight is lifted off your shoulders, right? Well, even though it sounds highly unlikely to happen, there were some cases in which it was possible.
People judged for criminal charges received their sentence based on the jurors’ votes. One holdout could ruin the whole thing for the others and save a criminal from death. Would you like to find out about some cases in which one holdout changed everything? In that case, take a look at the following information.
- Jodi Arias
Back in 2008, Jodi Arias murdered her boyfriend, Travis Alexander. Apparently, the couple split in 2007 but stayed in contact. They would still meet up until she moved back to Northern Carolina, although Alexander started to date other women. They stayed in touch even after she moved away.
In June 2008, after missing two appointments, Alexander’s friends began looking for him and they found him dead in his shower. Apparently, he was shot, had his throat slit, and had been stabbed for about 30 times.
Even though Arias lied at first, she eventually admitted that she was responsible for the crime, but that she did it in self-defense. During her trial, it had to be decided whether she will face a life in prison sentence or a death one.
It seemed that she would receive the death sentence, but one female juror’s holdout was what decided her fate – the rest of Arias’ life in prison. The jurors in favor of death tried to convince her to change her decision. However, it wasn’t possible, so the Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens declared a mistrial.
Consequently, Arias was sentenced to a life in prison.
- Etan Patz
Etan Patz was a 6-year-old boy who disappeared back in 1979. One day, the little boy left his home to go to school and headed for a bus stop. The bus stop was located just two blocks away. However, not only the boy hasn’t made it to school that day – he was never found ever since.
His disappearance was a shock to New York City, and law enforcement investigators have spent decades trying to find him. Sadly, they never did, and it remained an unsolved case.
After many years, Pedro Hernandez confessed to luring Etan into a basement and attacking him. However, after 100 hours of deliberating Pedro Hernandez’s fate, one juror had a holdout.
The juror’s excuse was the fact that there was not enough evidence Hernandez’s actual guilt. Hernandez was apparently mentally ill, and the juror argued that, for that particular reason, his story can’t be believed – at least not without proof.
He said he would have voted guilty if the police had found more evidence. Otherwise, he can’t vote guilty based on the story of a mentally ill man.
- Paul Manafort
Paul Manafort was Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman. He was found guilty of financial fraud. Basically, he was convicted for conspiracy against the U.S., five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failure to disclose a foreign bank account. However, there were 10 more counts, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict on them. Consequently, the judge declared a mistrial.
However, his trial didn’t end as expected. Although he was convicted on 18 criminal charges, one juror had questions about the reasonable doubt standard of guilt. If it wasn’t for this juror, everything would’ve gone well.
The juror in the trial, Paula Duncan, said that there was a holdout from another juror – and despite the attempts to convince her to look at the paper trail, it wasn’t successful. The juror kept saying that she had a reasonable doubt for her choice.
According to Duncan, 11 jury members agreed that Manafort was guilty on all 18 felony charges – but even after nearly four days of deliberation, the holdout was still there. They couldn’t convince the juror to change her opinion.
Duncan has declared that she was a Trump supporter and really wanted to believe that Manafort was actually innocent. However, despite wishing he wasn’t guilty, the truth is that he still was – and nobody is above the law, not even him.
In some cases, even if it seems like a criminal will finally get a death sentence or will be punished accordingly, one juror’s holdout can change all of that. It only takes one vote to ruin the whole thing.
Even if some cases may have a good reason for the holdout, in other cases it can really be infuriating to see the criminal get away. This is especially true when the criminal’s convictions are obvious, and everyone knows they are not getting what they deserve. If you want to observe more of this topic, you can also read “should voting be mandatory essay“.