Jurors in Jodi Arias' murder trial resume deliberations Thursday after they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on whether she should be sentenced to life in prison or death for killing her one-time boyfriend, prompting the judge to instruct them to keep trying.In the wake of Ring v. Arizona, the Arizona Legislature had the good sense to enact a true penalty-phase unanimity rule. Just like in the guilt phase, the jury must be unanimous one way or the other. If they are truly deadlocked, that is a mistrial. A new jury will be impaneled to retry the penalty phase unless the prosecution gives up and accepts a life sentence.
In many jurisdictions, there is a false unanimity rule, more aptly described as a single-juror veto rule. If eleven jurors believe the death penalty is the just sentence and one disagrees, the one can simply hold out and impose his will on the eleven. Jurisdictions that have such a rule need to fix it. Congress needs to fix it immediately for the federal system, before the trial of the Marathon Bomber.