I haven’t been able to follow the Peterson trial closely, but I wanted to throw out this update. According to CBSNews, this is the 3rd time the Defense has asked the judge to declare a mistrial based on the prosecutors’ missteps. For the judge to mis-try the case and be forced to try it over again with a new jury, the error must be pretty severe (such as in the Roger Clemens trial when inadmissible video statements were played to that jury.) However, multiple small errors can add up to a major concern that the jury might be prejudiced and can also trigger a mistrial.
The most recent error was an improper question, which standing alone generally isn’t enough for a mistrial. But if the judge feels there has been a pattern, he may grant the request, and the trial will start all over again with picking a new jury. Nobody really wants that.
Update: Peterson withdraws request for mistrial. His attorneys say they like this jury and don’t want to start over with a new one; which is what they said after picking this jury. The judge did give the jury a cautionary instruction regarding the Prosecutor’s improper question.