It’s the most dramatic courtroom moment: The jurors announce their verdict, and the judge tells them they’re free to go.
But the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that judges can call those jurors back, tell them to deliberate all over again, and bring a new ending to the legal drama if there’s been a mistake.
The case stems from one man running a red light in Montana. Rocky Dietz was driving to the gas station when a car driven by another man, Hillary Bouldin, ran a red light and crashed into his car.
Dietz sued Bouldin for the cost of physical therapy to treat a back injury and other medical expenses. Bouldin admitted he was at fault and agreed that the medical bills amounted to about $10,000. The only question was how much more he would have to pay to cover future costs.
The jury ruled for Rocky Dietz, but awarded him nothing — zero dollars. The judge thanked the jurors and told them, “You’re free to go. The jury’s discharged.”