mis·​tri·​al | \ ˈmis-ˌtrī(-ə)l How to pronounce mistrial (audio) \

Definition of mistrial

: a trial that has no legal effect with regard to one or more of the charges brought against the defendant because of some serious error or prejudicial misconduct in the proceedings or a hung jury

Examples of mistrial in a Sentence

The judge declared a mistrial.

Recent Examples on the Web

Asked about that, his spokesman said Ratcliffe was appointed by the attorney general to investigate what went wrong in the first of two trials in the case, which ended in a mistrial. Ken Dilanian, NBC News, "Intel officials worry Trump's pick for top spy will politicize the job," 29 July 2019 His first trial ended in a mistrial last September, with the jury deadlocked 8-4 in favor of acquittal. Sarah Sarder, Dallas News, "Jury deliberating fate of former Mesquite police officer accused of shooting unarmed man in the back," 19 July 2019 The case ended in a mistrial on Thursday when jurors failed to come to a consensus on the May 26, 2016 incident. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Mistrial declared in case where deputy accused of threatening hospital patient with Taser," 12 July 2019 Puana’s 2014 trial ended in a mistrial after Louis Kealoha provided improper testimony. Washington Post, "The Latest: Lawyer for ex-chief’s wife says case convoluted," 25 June 2019 Jones' first trial ended with the judge declaring a mistrial in April 2017 when jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict. Anne Ryman, azcentral, "Attorneys back off on request to end GPS monitoring, curfew for NAU shooter," 9 July 2019 The judge declared a mistrial on six other felonies and two misdemeanors including the rapes of a 54-year-old hitchhiker and an unconscious teenaged girl. cleveland.com, "Kellen Winslow Jr.’s disturbing behavior began early in pro career, Sports Illustrated article says," 14 June 2019 On Monday, Vista Superior Court Judge Blaine Bowman declared a mistrial on those and other deadlocked charges. San Diego Union-Tribune, "DA to retry Kellen Winslow II on rape, kidnapping and other charges," 14 June 2019 Jones previously had a mistrial in October 2016 after one of the witnesses mentioned another alleged unlawful force incident by an officer while the witness was being cross-examined, according to Jones' attorney, Scott King. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Trial set for man suing over 'excessive force' during Hammond traffic stop," 19 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mistrial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of mistrial

1628, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

20 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for mistrial

The first known use of mistrial was in 1628

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English Language Learners Definition of mistrial

law : a trial that is not valid because of an error or because the jury is unable to decide a verdict


mis·​tri·​al | \ ˈmis-ˌtrī-əl How to pronounce mistrial (audio) \

Legal Definition of mistrial

: a trial that terminates without a verdict because of error, necessity, prejudicial misconduct, or a hung jury — see also manifest necessity — compare dismissal sense 2, trial de novo

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More from Merriam-Webster on mistrial

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mistrial

Nglish: Translation of mistrial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mistrial for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mistrial

Comments on mistrial

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a wrong name or inappropriate designation

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