What does the Sixth Amendment right to a trial by jury in criminal cases mean? What is "a jury"?
Unanimity began to be generally required for jury verdicts in the American colonies in the eighteenth century.
The unanimity requirement as commonly applied means that all the members of the jury must agree upon the verdict—whether for conviction or acquittal.
If any of the jurors fail to agree, the jury is "hung"—that is, unable to reach a verdict. Under well-established doctrine, after a hung jury the defendant may be retried.
In a series of cases dating back to the end of the nineteenth century, the Supreme Court has assumed that under the Sixth Amendment the verdict of a criminal jury in the federal courts must be unanimous.
This assumption has not been tested, however, for there is no provision for less than unanimous criminal verdicts in the federal courts. The decision in duncan v. Duncan ruled that the fourteenth amendment protected the right to trial by jury in state courts according to the same standards applied under the Sixth Amendment.
To understand the Court's subsequent decisions regarding jury unanimity, it is necessary also to consider its related decisions on jury size. The Court in williams v.
The question whether state criminal juries must reach unanimous verdicts was presented for the first time in in two companion cases, apodaca v.
In Apodaca, the constitutionality of 10—2 verdicts was sustained under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments. In Johnson, 9—3 verdicts were upheld under the Fourteenth Amendment alone.
In Apodaca, a state case, five Justices one concurring Justice and four dissenters also expressed the view that the Sixth Amendment required unanimity in federal criminal trials.
Thus, by the time the Court considered the issue in burch v. In Burch, the Court held that conviction by a 5—1 vote of a six-person jury violated the constitutional right to trial by jury. The Court has not in modern times decided whether the seventh amendment requires unanimity in federal civil trials.
It can be argued that it so held in two early cases, American Publishing Company v. Fisher and Springville v.
Thomasbut the Court's nonunanimous verdict decisions in state criminal cases and its decision in Colgrove v. Battin that six-person juries are constitutional in federal civil trials, arguably have undermined those early decisions. In addressing the unanimity issue in Apodaca and Johnson, the Court relied heavily on the analysis used in the first size-of-jury case, Williams v.
Florida, and applied the same functional approach relating the size of the jury to the purposes of a jury trial. From a functional perspective, the unanimity issue has much in common with but is not identical to the jury size question.
For example, both involve concerns that juries represent a cross-section of the community and that minority viewpoints be represented. In connection with jury size, the concern is that if the jury is too small, it will not reflect minority views.
|Jury Size and Unanimity under the 6th and 14th Amendments||To convict the defendant [on any count] of identify crimeone particular act of identify crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, and you must unanimously agree as to which act has been proved.|
|Jury Unanimity||To convict the defendant [on any count] of identify crimeone particular act of identify crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, and you must unanimously agree as to which act has been proved. You need not unanimously agree that the defendant committed all the acts of identify crime.|
|View Document - Washington Criminal Jury Instructions||Jury Unanimity For much of its history, the American criminal jury has been required to reach unanimous verdicts. Inin a pair of U.|
|Must All Jury Verdicts Be Unanimous? - FindLaw||Juries are most common in common law adversarial-system jurisdictions. In the modern system, juries act as triers of factwhile judges act as triers of law but see nullification.|
|Example Sentences:||You will then discuss the case with your fellow jurors to reach agreement if you can do so. Your verdict, whether guilty or not guilty, must be unanimous.|
Where unanimity is departed from, the concern is that minority viewpoints represented on the jury will simply be disregarded and outvoted. A majority of the Court in Apodaca rejected this latter claim on the grounds that there was no reason to believe that majority jurors will fail to weigh the evidence and consider rational arguments offered by the minority.
The dissenters argued that jury reliability was diminished in a nonunanimous system because there is less pressure to debate and deliberate. Professor Hans Zeisel has made a similar point: But it is reduction with a vengeance, for a majority verdict requirement is far more effective in nullifying the potency of minority viewpoints than is the outright reduction of a jury to a size equivalent to the majority that is allowed to agree on a verdict.
Minority viewpoints fare better on a jury of ten that must be unanimous than on a jury of twelve where ten members must agree on a verdict"p. The less than unanimous verdict also poses a question not raised in the jury size cases.JURY UNANIMITY. The requirement that a jury in a criminal case reach a unanimous decision became generally established in England during the fourteenth century—about the same time that juries came to be composed of twelve persons.
THE JURY SYSTEM by John Walker and Desmond Lane case, in a climate where rational discussion about the general merits of the system is unlikely to occur. In such circumstances, logical arguments are Unanimity / Majority Verdicts At common law, jury verdicts in criminal trials had.
Apr 24, · [Footnote: There is one exception to this general rule. The Court has held that although the Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury requires a unanimous jury verdict in federal criminal trials, it does not require a unanimous jury verdict in state criminal trials.
See Apodaca v. Oregon; Johnson v. Louisiana. But that ruling was the result of an . Jury Unanimity. For much of its history, the American criminal jury has been required to reach unanimous verdicts.
In , in a pair of U.S. Supreme Court cases, the Justices held that Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments did not require jury unanimity in . 15 out of the felony jury trials Oregon for resulted in a hung jury, yielding a hung jury rate of %. Conclusion The data indicated that non-unanimous juries occur with great frequency in felony trials throughout the state.
Jury Unanimity. For much of its history, the American criminal jury has been required to reach unanimous verdicts.
In , in a pair of U.S. Supreme Court cases, the Justices held that Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments did not require jury unanimity in state court jury trials.