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NCJ Number: 69090 Find in a Library
Title: RIGHT TO TRIAL BY JURY - NEW GUIDELINES FOR STATE CRIMINAL TRIAL JURIES
Journal: LOUISIANA LAW REVIEW  Volume:40  Dated:(SPRING 1980)  Pages:837-846
Author(s): R L LAGARDE
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: U.S. SUPREME COURT DECISIONS RESHAPING THE STATE CRIMINAL TRIAL JURY BY ABANDONING THE COMMON LAW FORMULA REQUIRING 12-MEMBER JURIES AND UNANIMOUS VERDICTS ARE REVIEWED.
Abstract: IN PLACE OF THE COMMON LAW FORMULA, THE COURT HAS IMPOSED NEW GUIDELINES BASED UPON A FUNCTIONAL MODEL OF THE JURY, A THEORETICAL CONSTRUCT EMBODYING JURY SIZE AND UNANIMITY REQUIREMENTS CONSISTENT WITH THE FUNCTION OF THE JURY IN CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY. THE COURT HELD, IN THE 1970 CASE OF WILLIAMS V. FLORIDA, THAT A CRIMINAL TRIAL BEFORE A 6-MEMBER JURY DOES NOT VIOLATE THE DEFENDANT'S 6TH OR 14TH AMENDMENT RIGHTS. FINDING THAT THE 12-MEMBER REQUIREMENT WAS A 'HISTORICAL ACCIDENT,' THE COURT CONCLUDED THAT THE FRAMERS DID NOT EXPLICITY INTEND TO CODIFY, AS A CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT, THAT FEATURE OF THE COMMON LAW JURY. THE RESULT REACHED BY THE COURT WAS BASED ON ITS DETERMINATION THAT A 12-MEMBER JURY IS NOT ESSENTIAL TO THE 6TH AMENDMENT'S PURPOSE OF INTERPOSING BETWEEN THE DEFENDANT AND THE PROSECUTION THE COMMON SENSE JUDGMENT OF THE DEFENDANT'S PEERS. LATER, IN APODACA V. OREGON (1972), THE COURT HELD THAT A NONUNANIMOUS VERDICT, IN A CASE INVOLVING A NONCAPITAL OFFENSE, DOES NOT VIOLATE THE 6TH AND 14TH AMENDMENTS. YET IN BURCH V. LOUISIANA (1979), THE COURT RULED THAT WHEN A STATE HAS CHOSEN TO REDUCE THE SIZE OF ITS JURIES TO THE MINIMUM CONSTITUTIONAL NUMBER OF JURORS, NONUNANIMOUS JURY VERDICTS ARE PROHIBITED. THE CASES INDICATE THAT THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF A NEW JURY SIZE OR UNANIMITY REQUIREMENT WILL DEPEND ON THE ABILITY OF THE JURY TO SAFEGUARD THE ACCUSED FROM GOVERNMENTAL AND JUDICIAL ABUSE. A FUTURE COURT WILL IDENTIFY THE CRITERIA USED IN DETERMINING THE ABILITY OF THE JURY TO PERFORM ITS FUNCTIONS. OVER 60 FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED.
Index Term(s): Court reform; Judicial decisions; Jury decisionmaking; Jury quorum rule; Jury size changes; Jury unanimity; Louisiana; Right to trial by jury; US Supreme Court
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=69090

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