We often hear about famous people involved in legal actions, especially when those actions are criminal in nature. Last week, the John Edwards criminal trial ended in a hung jury: he was found not guilty on one charge but the jury could not reach an agreement on the other 5 counts.
This doesn’t mean the jury thought he was innocent. The burden of proof in criminal trials is the very high standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. If the jurors couldn’t all agree whether he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, he could not be convicted of the charges. The judge declared a mistrial, which means the prosecutors can retry the case if they so choose, but this often does not happen if prosecutors anticipate a repeat of the same outcome.