D.C. Mayor Marion Barry's defense lawyer, R. Kenneth Mundy, appeared to be talking directly to federal prosecutors yesterday when he said he hopes there would not be a retrial of the 12 charges against Barry that were left undecided after the mayor's two-month trial.

Alternately conciliatory and combative, Mundy seemed to be facing off with U.S. Attorney Jay B. Stephens when he said that depending on what the government does, the Barry team is "ready to release the dove of peace, or, if necessary, to rearm our arsenal of war."

To a large extent, Mundy's suggestion that there would be little point in another trial echoed the sentiment of numerous criminal defense lawyers and former prosecutors who said yesterday that Stephens should decide not to try the case again.

In a series of interviews, the lawyers said that the mixed verdict returned Friday in Barry's cocaine and perjury case showed that even a technically perfect prosecution cannot guarantee a conviction against a popular public figure.

And in Barry's case, some of the lawyers said, it's understandable that jurors felt they had grounds to feel that Barry had been singled out unfairly for prosecution.

Leonard Garment, a highly regarded Washington lawyer who defended President Nixon during the Watergate investigation, said his "visceral reaction" to the FBI's Vista Hotel sting, in which Barry was lured to the hotel and taped smoking crack, was that it was "entrapment."

Garment said that while the sting may not have met the legal test for entrapment -- and that he believes Barry was not coerced into commiting a crime to which he was not predisposed -- he still thinks Barry went to the Vista Hotel more for romance than for drugs.

Barry was convicted of one misdemeanor cocaine possession charge and acquitted of a second.

The jury deadlocked on eight remaining possession charges, a misdemeanor charge of conspiracy to possess cocaine and three felony perjury charges. Stephens has said he will announce his decision whether to seek a retrial on Sept. 17, when a federal judge has scheduled a hearing in the case.

Sources said yesterday that the prosecutors, before determining whether they should try the case again, must analyze the reasons for the jury's inability to reach a decision. One juror said the panel split 6 to 6 or 7 to 5 on most of the counts against Barry. Prosecutors and defense lawyers talked to some of the jurors after the verdict.

Jamie S. Gorelick, another noted white-collar defense lawyer, said the Barry verdict, and the underlying division among the jurors, should deter Stephens from seeking a retrial of the remaining charges. Gorelick -- who represented one of the figures in the Barry case, Birmingham consultant Willie Davis -- said there would be an almost insurmountable problem for the government if it brings the case to trial again.

"I think that unless the numbers are very favorable to the government, which they weren't here, it's unlikely that they're going to do better," she said.

"Where are you going to find a jury that does not know what the results were and what the reaction of the community was? It's a tough decision given what they've invested in the case."

She was a member of the defense team for former Louisiana governor Edwin W. Edwards (D), who was tried on racketeering and fraud charges in 1986.

After the first trial ended in a hung jury, federal prosecutors sought a retrial, and Edwards was acquitted.

In his speech yesterday at the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center, Barry agreed that there should be no retrial.

Referring to the jurors' mixed verdict, Barry said, to loud applause: "They have spoken . . . . Let their judgment be our last judgment."

A former senior prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office here said yesterday that Stephens and his staff may have made several key miscalculations in the formulation and presentation of the Barry case.

For one, the former prosecutor said, Stephens may have brought too many charges, given the evidence he had. Second, the former prosecutor said, it was probably a mistake to present a substantial amount of evidence about Barry's alleged sexual misconduct, allegations that were not the basis for any of the criminal charges. The prosecutor said that probably struck some jurors as mean-spirited.

And third, the former prosecutor said, he thought some jurors may have been offended by a remark by Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith E. Retchin in her closing argument.

She was referring to Barry's 1989 testimony before a grand jury in which, without being asked about drugs, he blurted out that he hadn't given any drugs to a friend, Charles Lewis. Retchin said he was showing a guilty conscience and that he was like a child who is banned by parents from watching television, but watches it and volunteers that he isn't.

Criminal defense lawyer Samuel Buffone said yesterday that the Barry case was unusual because of the publicity, and that it was likely that "a good deal of the jurors had decided it before they ever entered the courtroom."

"When you see that kind of result {a deeply split jury}, it is usually because the case was overcharged or not well-tried," said Buffone. He said he thinks it was overcharged.

Buffone said that in a trial of a famous person, "the slate is far from clean . . . . It's really hard to have an impartial jury because there are so many preconceptions."

In addition, Buffone said, juries in high-profile cases tend to take their responsibilities even more seriously than most juries, and often hold the prosecutors to an extremely high standard of proof.

Buffone also said he could not criticize U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's handling of the case and, in particular, Jackson's decision not to force the jurors to spend another weekend sequestered in a hotel in hopes they might reach a verdict on more counts this week.

Defense lawyer G. Allen Dale said that he thinks it would be "political suicide" for Stephens to attempt to retry the case, and that one of the questions Stephens must pose in reaching his decision is why so many blacks felt so strongly that Barry was the victim of a double standard of justice.

"To a certain degree," Dale said, there is a parallel between what the jury did in the Barry case and what white juries in the South did to acquit white defendants accused of violating the civil rights of blacks.

"What he {Stephens} needs to do is first thing Monday morning come out of his office and say, 'It's over,' " Dale said. "Barry should wait about five minutes, then come out and say, 'I accept.' "Staff writers Tracy Thompson and Elsa Walsh contributed to this report.