Verdict

Verdict in the United States

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A finding by a jury on a fact question formally submitted to it for deliberation. The verdict is reported to the court and announced. Either party is entitled to request that the jury be polled. This requires that each juror disclose in open court his or her vote. Verdicts in criminal cases must be unanimous in most jurisdictions, although the Supreme Court has ruled that verdicts reached on the basis of ten-to-two and nine-to-three votes do not violate the jury trial requirements of the Sixth Amendment. A verdict to convict in a criminal case requires evidence that demonstrates guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil verdicts are arrived at by using the preponderance of evidence standard.

See Also

Acquittal (Civil Process) Conviction (Civil Process) Jury (Civil Process).

Analysis and Relevance

The verdict is the conclusion of a jury in a fact dispute.

The verdict gives effect to the belief that an impartial group of citizens ought to play a decisive role in the adversary process. Most often, juries are expected to render general verdicts. Such a verdict simply decides for one party or the other. A special verdict, on the other hand, is a response to particular fact issues. A judgment based on the responses to such issues is subsequently made by the court. Assignment of proportionate fault in a personal injury case, for example, is a special verdict upon which a court bases its judgment. Finally, there are verdicts called directed verdicts, which may be ordered by the court. These occur if a judge rules as a matter of law that the party carrying the burden of proof has failed to establish a prima facie case. Given the requirement that the prosecution establish at least a prima facie case before trial, the directed verdict is not used in criminal cases.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Verdict from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Verdict in the United States

Verdict, in law, the pronouncement of the jury upon matters of fact submitted to them for deliberation and determination. In civil cases, verdicts may be either general or special. A general verdict is one in which the jury pronounces generally upon all the issues, in favor of either the plaintiff or the defendant. It is a finding in favor of the prevailing party as to every material fact properly submitted for the consideration of the jury. A special verdict is one in which the jury reviews the facts, but leaves to the court any decisions on questions of law arising from those facts. As a rule, however, special verdicts are not applicable to criminal cases, and in most instances the jury renders a general verdict of guilty or not guilty.

The jury’s function is to determine from the evidence the facts and to make a proper application of the law relating to those facts as charged by the court. It is the exclusive province of the court to interpret the law and state to the jury what principles of law are applicable to the facts in the case, and such statement and exposition of the law are binding on the jury. It is the sole province of the jury, however, to determine the facts in the case based upon the evidence presented.

Generally, the jury’s verdict must be unanimous. In a number of states, however, the condition of unanimity has been modified, and verdicts can consequently be rendered by a designated majority of the jury. All jury members must be present in court when the verdict is given, and in most jurisdictions either litigant has the absolute right to have the jury polled. In polling a jury, each member is asked if the verdict is the one he or she favored. If the required number of jurors do not answer this question in the affirmative, the verdict, of course, cannot stand.

In a number of states the judge may direct the jury to render a verdict in favor of one of the litigants when the evidence conclusively establishes the right of such party to a verdict. A verdict that appears to the court to be against the weight of evidence may be set aside by the court and a new trial ordered. In criminal cases, however, a verdict of acquittal is conclusive upon the prosecution (the state), thus precluding double jeopardy, but the defendant may be tried again in the event the jury cannot reach a decision. The defendant must be present when the verdict is rendered.

Source: Verdict, Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2000

Verdict Definition

The expression of the concurrence of individual judgments, rather than the product of mixed thoughts. 17 Kan. 462; 20 Ann. Cas. 880. In practice. The unanimous decision made by a jury and reported to the court on the matters lawfully submitted to them in the course of a trial of a cause. It is the theory of jury trials that, from the testimony each individual juror should be led to the same conclusion; and this unanimous conclusion is the certainty of fact sought in the law. 17 Kan. 462; 20 Ann. Cas. 880. Under comparatively recent statutory provisions in some states a verdict or special finding in a civil case, concurred in by three-fourths of the jurors only, is valid. 171 Mo. 84; 70 S. W. 891; 7 Ohio App. 99; 100 Ohio St. 315; 125 N. E. 875.
(1) A general verdict is one by which the jury pronounce at the same time on the fact and the law, either in favor of the plaintiff or defendant. Co. Litt. 228; 4 Bl. Comm. 461. The jury may find such a verdict whenever they think fit to do so.
(2) A partial verdict in a criminal case is one by which the jury acquit the defendant of a part of the accusation against him, and find him guilty of the residue. The following are examples of this kind of a verdict, namely: When they acquit the defendant on one count, and find him guilty on another, which is indeed a species of general verdict, as he is generally acquitted on one charge, and generally convicted on another; when the charge is of an offense of a higher, and includes one of an inferior, degree, the jury may convict of the less atrocious by finding a partial verdict. Thus, upon an indictment for burglary, the defendant may be convicted of larceny, and acquitted of the nocturnal entry; upon an indictment for murder, he may be convicted of rnanslaughter; robbery may be softened to simple larceny; a battery into a common assault. 1 Chit. Crim. Law, 638, and the cases there cited.
(3) A privy verdict is one delivered privily to a judge out of court. A verdict of this kind is delivered to the judge after the jury have agreed, for the convenience of the jury, who, after having given it, separate. This verdict is of no force whatever, and this practice, being exceedingly liable to abuse, is seldom if ever allowfed in the United States. The jury, however, are allowed in some states, in certain cases, to seal their verdict and return it into court, as, for example, where a verdict is agreed upon during the adjournment of the court for the day.
(4) A public verdict is one delivered in open court. This verdict has its full effect, and, unless set aside, is conclusive on the facts, and, when judgment is rendered upon it, bars all future controversy, in personal actions. A private verdict must afterwards be given publicly in order to give it any eifect.
(5) A special verdict is one by which the facts of the case are put on the record, and the law is submitted to the judges. 1 Litt. (Ky.) 376; 4 Rand. (Va.) 504; 1 Hen. & M. (Va.) 235; 1 Wash. C. C. (U. S.) 499; 2 Mason (U. S.) 31. The jury have an option, instead of finding the negative or affirmative of the issue, as in a general verdict, to find all the facts of the case as disclosed by the evidence before the).., and, after so setting them forth, to conclude to the following effect: That they are ignorant, in point of law, on which side they ought upon those facts to find the issue; that if, upon the whole matter, the court shall be of opinion that the issue is proved for the plaintiff, they find for the plaintiff accordingly, and assess the damages at such a sum, etc.; but if the court are of an opposite opinion, then they find vice versa. This form of finding is called a special verdict. In practice they have nothing to do with the formal preparation of the special verdict. When it is agreed that a verdict of that kind is to be given, the jury merely declare their opinion as to any fact remaining in doubt, and then the verdict is adjusted without their further interference. It is settled, under the correction of the judge, by the counsel and attorneys on either side, according to the state of the facts as found by the jury, with respect to all particulars on which they have delivered an opinion, and, with respect to other particulars, according to the state of facts which it is agreed that they ought to find upon the evidence before them. The special verdict, when its form is thus settled, is together with the whole proceedings on the trial, then entered on record; and the question of law, arising on the facts found, is argued before the court in banc, and decided by that court as in case of a demurrer. If either party be dissatisfied with their decision, he may afterwards resort to a court of error. Steph. PL 113; 1 Archb. Prac. 189; 3 Bl. Comm. 377; Bac. Abr. Verdict (D, E). There is another method of finding a special verdict. This is when the jury find a verdict generally for the plaintiff, but subject, nevertheless, to the opinion of the judges or the court above on a special case, stated Jjy the counsel on both sides, with regard to a matter of law. 3 Bl. Comm. 378. And see 10 Mass. 64; 11 Mass. 358. See, generally, Bouv. Inst. Index.
(6) A sealed verdict is one arrived at and delivered, to be returned to the court when it shall again convene after a recess or adjournment for the day, during which the agreement of the Jurors is reached. It is inclosed in a sealed packet, and is opened and read at the ensuing sitting of the court, in the presence of the jury. It is permitted by special direction of the court in order to avoid confining the jury for a long period after agreeing, and enables them to separate subject to the duty to attend the opening of the verdict. court. A verdict returned by the jury, the entry of judgment upon which is subject to the determination of points of law reserved by the court upon the trial.

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Legal Issue for Attorneys

The expression of the concurrence of individual judgments, rather than the product of mixed thoughts. 17 Kan. 462; 20 Ann. Cas. 880. In practice. The unanimous decision made by a jury and reported to the court on the matters lawfully submitted to them in the course of a trial of a cause. It is the theory of jury trials that, from the testimony each individual juror should be led to the same conclusion; and this unanimous conclusion is the certainty of fact sought in the law. 17 Kan. 462; 20 Ann. Cas. 880. Under comparatively recent statutory provisions in some states a verdict or special finding in a civil case, concurred in by three-fourths of the jurors only, is valid. 171 Mo. 84; 70 S. W. 891; 7 Ohio App. 99; 100 Ohio St. 315; 125 N. E. 875.
(1) A general verdict is one by which the jury pronounce at the same time on the fact and the law, either in favor of the plaintiff or defendant. Co. Litt. 228; 4 Bl. Comm. 461. The jury may find such a verdict whenever they think fit to do so.
(2) A partial verdict in a criminal case is one by which the jury acquit the defendant of a part of the accusation against him, and find him guilty of the residue. The following are examples of this kind of a verdict, namely: When they acquit the defendant on one count, and find him guilty on another, which is indeed a species of general verdict, as he is generally acquitted on one charge, and generally convicted on another; when the charge is of an offense of a higher, and includes one of an inferior, degree, the jury may convict of the less atrocious by finding a partial verdict. Thus, upon an indictment for burglary, the defendant may be convicted of larceny, and acquitted of the nocturnal entry; upon an indictment for murder, he may be convicted of rnanslaughter; robbery may be softened to simple larceny; a battery into a common assault. 1 Chit. Crim. Law, 638, and the cases there cited.
(3) A privy verdict is one delivered privily to a judge out of court. A verdict of this kind is delivered to the judge after the jury have agreed, for the convenience of the jury, who, after having given it, separate. This verdict is of no force whatever, and this practice, being exceedingly liable to abuse, is seldom if ever allowfed in the United States. The jury, however, are allowed in some states, in certain cases, to seal their verdict and return it into court, as, for example, where a verdict is agreed upon during the adjournment of the court for the day.
(4) A public verdict is one delivered in open court. This verdict has its full effect, and, unless set aside, is conclusive on the facts, and, when judgment is rendered upon it, bars all future controversy, in personal actions. A private verdict must afterwards be given publicly in order to give it any eifect.
(5) A special verdict is one by which the facts of the case are put on the record, and the law is submitted to the judges. 1 Litt. (Ky.) 376; 4 Rand. (Va.) 504; 1 Hen. & M. (Va.) 235; 1 Wash. C. C. (U. S.) 499; 2 Mason (U. S.) 31. The jury have an option, instead of finding the negative or affirmative of the issue, as in a general verdict, to find all the facts of the case as disclosed by the evidence before the).., and, after so setting them forth, to conclude to the following effect: That they are ignorant, in point of law, on which side they ought upon those facts to find the issue; that if, upon the whole matter, the court shall be of opinion that the issue is proved for the plaintiff, they find for the plaintiff accordingly, and assess the damages at such a sum, etc.; but if the court are of an opposite opinion, then they find vice versa. This form of finding is called a special verdict. In practice they have nothing to do with the formal preparation of the special verdict. When it is agreed that a verdict of that kind is to be given, the jury merely declare their opinion as to any fact remaining in doubt, and then the verdict is adjusted without their further interference. It is settled, under the correction of the judge, by the counsel and attorneys on either side, according to the state of the facts as found by the jury, with respect to all particulars on which they have delivered an opinion, and, with respect to other particulars, according to the state of facts which it is agreed that they ought to find upon the evidence before them. The special verdict, when its form is thus settled, is together with the whole proceedings on the trial, then entered on record; and the question of law, arising on the facts found, is argued before the court in banc, and decided by that court as in case of a demurrer. If either party be dissatisfied with their decision, he may afterwards resort to a court of error. Steph. PL 113; 1 Archb. Prac. 189; 3 Bl. Comm. 377; Bac. Abr. Verdict (D, E). There is another method of finding a special verdict. This is when the jury find a verdict generally for the plaintiff, but subject, nevertheless, to the opinion of the judges or the court above on a special case, stated Jjy the counsel on both sides, with regard to a matter of law. 3 Bl. Comm. 378. And see 10 Mass. 64; 11 Mass. 358. See, generally, Bouv. Inst. Index.
(6) A sealed verdict is one arrived at and delivered, to be returned to the court when it shall again convene after a recess or adjournment for the day, during which the agreement of the Jurors is reached. It is inclosed in a sealed packet, and is opened and read at the ensuing sitting of the court, in the presence of the jury. It is permitted by special direction of the court in order to avoid confining the jury for a long period after agreeing, and enables them to separate subject to the duty to attend the opening of the verdict. court. A verdict returned by the jury, the entry of judgment upon which is subject to the determination of points of law reserved by the court upon the trial.

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Notice

This definition of Verdict Is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This definition needs to be proofread..

Practical Information

Note: Some of this information was last updated in 1982

An opinion rendered by a jury, or a judge when there is no jury, on a question of fact. Trial courts may accept or reject such findings of fact in formulating their judgment (in U.S. law).

(Revised by Ann De Vries)

What is Verdict?

For a meaning of it, read Verdict in the Legal Dictionary here. Browse and search more U.S. and international free legal definitions and legal terms related to Verdict.

Concept of Verdict in Constitutional Law

The following is a very basic definition of Verdict in this context: The finding or judgment of a court

Concept of Verdict in Political Science

The following is a very basic definition of Verdict in relation to the election system and the U.S Congress: The finding or judgment of a court

Verdict

In Legislation

Verdict in the U.S. Code: Title 18, Part II, Chapter 225

The current, permanent, in-force federal laws regulating verdict are compiled in the United States Code under Title 18, Part II, Chapter 225. It constitutes “prima facie” evidence of statutes relating to Criminal Procedure (including verdict) of the United States. The readers can further narrow their legal research on the topic by chapter and subchapter.

Resources

See Also

  • Legal Topics.
  • jeopardy; sentence.

    courts of law

    Further Reading (Articles)

    Verdict that causes headaches for judges – but relief for those freed ANALYSIS, The Scotsman; May 27, 2003; JOHN ROBERTSON

    Not proven verdict goes on trial at Holyrood for the first time, The Herald; March 29, 2007; ROB ROBERTSON

    McVeigh Verdict, NPR Morning Edition; June 3, 1997; Wade Goodwyn, Bob Edwards

    Verdict aftermath more tears than fireworks in Los Angeles, Oakland Tribune; July 8, 2010; Chris Metinko

    When is an inconsistent verdict not inconsistent?(Florida law), Florida Bar Journal; December 1, 2000; Hopkins, Kimberly Nolen

    Gaa: Verdicts, The Mirror (London, England); March 20, 1999

    WEEKEND VERDICTS.(Sport), The Mirror (London, England); October 11, 2003

    The third verdict Should its days be numbered?, The Herald; March 29, 2007

    ALM Acquires Verdict Research Group, Inc. Real Estate Weekly News; August 6, 2010

    Lawyers: Split Verdicts Not Uncommon, Have Different Causes, Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, PA); January 31, 2011; Peter E Bortner

    Fake court verdicts brought to light, The Kathmandu Post; February 8, 2009

    Top 10 jury verdicts of 2010, Long Island Business News; January 28, 2011; John Callegari

    Total Top Ten verdict awards for 2007 is smallest in 14 years, Lawyers USA; January 14, 2008; Bill Ibelle

    Top 10 Jury Verdicts of 2009, Long Island Business News; February 19, 2010

    The fate of verdict sheets in N.Y., Daily Record (Rochester, NY); June 24, 2009; Elizabeth Stull

    Top Ten Jury Verdicts of 2009, Lawyers USA; January 15, 2010; Justin Rebello

    Handicapping the Obamacare Verdict, The Washington Post; June 23, 2012; Petri, Alexandra

    2005’s top 10 verdicts smaller than the verdict in corresponding position last year, Long Island Business News; January 27, 2006; Bill Ibelle and Jeremy Harrell

    Port Said Verdict Echoes across Nation, Daily News Egypt (Egypt); March 9, 2013

    Blair: The Verdict; AS HE BECOMES THE LONGEST-SERVING LABOUR PRIME MINISTER IN HISTORY, WE PRESENT, The Mirror (London, England); August 2, 2003

    Trial Trial by Jury The Verdict

    Introduction to Verdict

    At the conclusion of the charge, the jury retires from the courtroom to decide on its verdict. The verdict of a jury terminates the trial. In a case tried before a judge sitting alone, the decision of the judge constitutes a termination of the trial.” (1)

    Concept of Verdict in Constitutional Law

    The following is a very basic definition of Verdict in this context: The finding or judgment of a court

    Concept of Verdict in Political Science

    The following is a very basic definition of Verdict in relation to the election system and the U.S Congress: The finding or judgment of a court

    Resources

    Notes and References

    Guide to Verdict

    Verdict Definition in the context of the Federal Court System

    The decision of a trial jury or a judge that determines the guilt or innocence of a criminal defendant, or that determines the final outcome of a civil case.

    Verdict: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

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