Unanimous Versus Non Unanimous Jury Verdicts Law Essay

In the United States, 48 states require unanimous criminal jury verdicts. A unanimous jury verdict indicates that all jurors came to a common decision in the criminal proceedings. Louisiana and Oregon are the only two states that allow non-unanimity jury verdicts. Louisiana statue allows juries to convict felony suspects by votes of 10 to 2 and allows such non-unanimous verdicts in felony cases where the punishment is imprisonment with hard labor. The only punishment that requires a unanimous 12 juror vote verdict is the death penalty. The Oregon State Constitution allows for non-unanimous guilty verdicts to be returned when 10 of 12 jurors agree on guilt, except in cases of first degree murder, where unanimity is required.

Within the last year, two major cases; Miller v. Louisiana (2005) and Bowen v. Oregon (2007) have been decided in controversy. This has re-established the question of Louisiana and Oregon’s constitutionality and fairness in respect to the defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights. In May 2009 Corey “C-Murder” Miller was convicted of 2nd degree murder by a 10 to 2 jury decision and in August sentenced to a mandatory life imprisonment with no possibility of parole in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In Miller’s case, initially three jurors believed he was not guilty but one changed her vote (C.J. Lin, 2009). Ms. Jacob was the deciding vote and stated in a newspaper interview that, “she does not feel that the prosecutors proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt. But she said she voted once to convict Miller just to end deliberations because of the “brutal” pressure applied by some jurors on another juror who thought the rapper was innocent” (C.J. Lin, 2009). Louisiana declined to rehear the case on the grounds brought by the NAACP President. In October 2009, the United State Supreme Court announced they would not hear the case of an Oregon man Scott Davis Bowen sentenced to 17 years, who was convicted of sexual abuse, sodomy and rape of his 15-year old stepdaughter by a split jury, which put an end to the issue of non-unanimity to the higher state court until another case is brought forward (Green, 2009).

History of Jury Trials

The Supreme Court originally held that the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial indicated a right to trial that was based on England’s common law when the Constitution was adopted in 1787. Therefore, juries had to be composed of twelve persons and that the verdict had to be unanimous. When the Fourteenth Amendment was established the Supreme Court extended the right to trial by jury to defendants in state courts. The number of jurors was re-examined and it was held that twelve came to be the number of jurors by “historical accident”, and that six jurors would be sufficient but anything less than six would deprive the defendant the right of a fair and impartial jury. On the basis of history and precedent the Sixth Amendment mandates unanimity in federal jury trials, however, but the Supreme Court has ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause requires states to provide jury trials for serious crimes but the Fourteenth Amendment does not incorporate all the elements of a jury trial within the meaning of the Sixth Amendment in which jury unanimity is not required.

Statement of Problem

This research paper will examine the constitutionality and impartiality of Oregon and Louisiana’s statues on Non-Unanimous Jury Verdicts. Criminal convictions based on non-unanimous verdicts are at risk of increasing and providing harsher punishment that is given without reconsideration. The thoroughness of jury deliberation is questionable because of the lack of interest in being a juror to a time consuming case, as well as the decrease in hung juries in the state’s court system which eliminates the chances of retrials to introduce newly found evidence or to re-examine original evidence. Unanimity ensures the value of each individual juror and preserves the jury’s independence from the court’s influences as well as affirms the reasonable doubt standard.

Research Questions

Are unanimous jury verdicts a violation of criminal defendants Sixth Amendment rights?

What are the effects of Louisiana and Oregon’s statues on the conviction rate of violent crimes (Murder, Forcible Rape and Armed Robbery)?

What impact do Louisiana and Oregon statues have on clearance rate compared to the surrounding states?

For the purpose of this research, the following terms have been defined for a clearer understanding of the author’s points and suggestions.

Key Terms

Sixth Amendment: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense” (Constitution, 1791).

Fourteenth Amendment: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protections of laws” (Constitution, 1868).

Unanimous: of one mind; in complete agreement; agreed (Unanimous, 2010).

Non-Unanimous: unable to reach an agreement with majority and minority groups.

Murder: the unlawful killing and intentional killing of a human being; in some instances the killing of another while in the commission or attempted commission of another crime (Falcone, 2005).

Forcible Rape: The aggravated form of rape, where sexual intercourse with a female is gained by the use of force or threatened use of force, generally with a weapon of some sort (Falcone, 2005).

Armed Robbery: the direct taking of property (including money) from a person (victim) through force, threat or intimidation, “Armed robbery” involves the use of a gun or other weapon which can do bodily harm (Falcone, 2005).

Clearance: Any instance where a known Uniform Crime Report violation is cleared to the satisfaction of the police or other law enforcement agency (Falcone, 2005).

Literature Review

Supreme Court Decisions

Williams v. Florida 1970

Question: Did a trial by jury of less than 12 persons violate the Sixth Amendment?

The Court held that “the 12-man jury requirement cannot be regarded as an indispensable component of the Sixth Amendment” (Williams v. Florida, 1970). The Court found that the purpose of the jury trial was “to prevent oppression by the Government” (Williams v. Florida, 1970), and that the performance of this role was not dependent on the particular number of people on the jury. The Court concluded that “the fact that the jury at common law was composed of precisely 12 is a historical accident, unnecessary to affect the purposes of the jury system and wholly without significance except to mystics” (Williams v. Florida, 1970).

Decision: 6 votes for Florida, 2 votes against

Apodaca v. Oregon 1972

Question: Is a defendant’s right to trial by jury in a criminal case in a state court (as protected by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments) violated if the accused is convicted by a less-than-unanimous jury?

The Court held that the most important function of the jury is to provide “commonsense judgment” (Apodaca v. Oregon, 1972) in evaluating the respective arguments of accused and accuser. Requiring unanimity would not necessarily contribute to this function (Apodaca v. Oregon, 1972).

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Decision: 5 votes for Oregon, 4 votes against

Johnson v. Louisiana 1972

Question: Do less-than-unanimous jury verdicts in certain cases violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment?

The Court held that less-than-unanimous convictions did not violate the reasonable doubt standard embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. Justice White argued, “that a minority opposing conviction does not prevent the other jurors from reaching their decisions beyond a reasonable doubt” (Johnson v. Louisiana, 1972). Furthermore, the presence of dissenting jurors does not indicate that the state failed to uphold this standard. Finally, allowing less-than-unanimous decisions in certain cases serves a rational state purpose, not offensive to the Constitution (Johnson v. Louisiana, 1972).

Decision: 5 votes for Louisiana, 4 votes against

In Favor of Unanimity

Oregon’s Measure 72 to “Bring Balance to the Jury Process in Murder Cases”

Measure 72 does not give new right to victims rather it allows Oregonians to give up their right to be convicted by unanimous juries. Measure 72 is dangerous to the minority communities in Oregon, where innocent defendants would otherwise be saved from conviction by a twelfth juror. This measure is expensive to the state of Oregon and may lead to the early release of criminals. The overcrowded jails will continue to increase with criminals because of the elimination of bail and restricting options like work release and home detention (Oregon, 1999).

Bowen v. Oregon Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Oregon Court of Appeals

In the case of Scott David Bowen v. State of Oregon (2007), those in favor of the Petitioner Bowen, believes unanimity promotes robust jury deliberations. When unanimity is required, juries are opted to utilize their time more efficiently before coming to a verdict. When unanimity is not required jurors tend to end their deliberations soon after the required majority was reached. Robust deliberations provide an opportunity for those in the minority to persuade their fellow jurors to change their opinions. It allows nonconformist to point out the fine distinction that leads to a consensus that the defendant is not guilty, or that a lesser included charge is more appropriate, after a thorough consideration of the evidence (Scott David Bowen v. State of Oregon: On Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Oregon Court of Appeals, 2009).

The National State Courts provided questionnaires from approximately 3,500 jurors of information on the jury’s first ballots and final verdicts. Over 10 percent of the cases, jurors who favored a minority position at the same time of the first ballot were able to convince the majority jurors to adopt the minority’s favored verdict. The felony juries in those cases in which only one or two jurors were the minority on the first ballot, only 2.9% ended with a hung jury. In the 83%, if the cases in which hung juries did occur, the minority position was initially supported by at least three jurors (Scott David Bowen v. State of Oregon: On Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Oregon Court of Appeals, 2009).

Preserving the Value of Unanimous Criminal Jury Verdicts in Anti-Deadlock Instructions

Hung juries are a very important element to the jury system especially in states such as Louisiana and Oregon who do not require an unanimous verdict. A hung jury is a social and monetary cost to the court system, to the affected parties and, on a larger scale, to the community. The partiality for unanimous jury exists in need of avoiding coercing jurors to comply with a verdict with which they do not agree. If there is no unity the trial will end without a verdict. If the judge pushes the jurors too hard to come to an agreement, any resulting verdict must be reversed.

The unanimity requirement is an important part of the jury process:

1. It empowers each juror’s vote with individual meaning. Each juror has a voice, the discussions are often more vigorous and in-depth, and the results usually represents the voice of each person in the room (BoveIII, 2008).

2. Requiring unanimity reinforces the symbolic legitimacy that attaches to a jury of the defendant’s peers (BoveIII, 2008).

Justice, Democracy and the Jury

The trial process is perceived as being consistent with democratic ideals and expressions of the community’s voice. These general perceptions of the process are improved by the unanimity requirement’s impact on deliberations. Beyond the pursuit of justice, juries provide individuals with an opportunity to engage in participatory democracy to a greater extent than in other areas of civic life (Gobert, 1998).

When Democracy is Not Self-Government: Toward a Defense of the Unanimity Rule for Criminal Juries

Jury service requires people from all walks of life to gather together and decide the fate of another member of their own community. Unlike the decentralized legislative process or national electoral campaigns, jurors sit on the front line of their decision and debate with each other directly (Primus, 1997).

Jury in Spector Murder case tells Judge it is Deadlocked

Phil Spector was accused of killing actress Lana Clarkson in 2003. After deliberating for seven days, the jury indicated that it was deadlocked; noting that the split was 7 votes to 5 without revealing which side had the majority. The jury indicated the disagreement was on the meaning of reasonable doubt and confusion on how to weigh evidence and interpret the instructions for second-degree murder. In the end, the judge simply re-read most of the instructions, and removed the language he said misstated the law, and added additional instructions on what constitute reasonable doubt. After another week of deliberation, the judge declared a mistrial due to the deadlock. Jury indicated two holdouts prevented the convictions. The major problems with how the decision came about were:

The jury is likely to put great emphasis on everything that the judge says or asks (Archibold, 2007).

Altering the jury instructions which suggested to the jury that the court preferred some type of conviction in the case even if it’s on a different charge rather than a mistrial (Archibold, 2007).

Not in Favor of Unanimity

Oregon’s Measure 72 to “Bring Balance to the Jury Process in Murder Cases”

The Oregonians concurred that the ability of the jury to acquit or convict a person for any crime except Murder or Aggravated Murder by a vote of 10 to 2 has worked well with their court system. Since the 1930s Oregonians have understood that one juror, who has discriminatory or pre-determined ideas, would never convict or acquit anyone regardless of the statue or evidence provided should not be allowed to determine justice. In relevance to this measure is the case of Andrew Whitaker, a 16 year old boy who admitted purposely murdering a 12 year old girl was luckily given the sentence of Second-Degree Manslaughter in order to avoid the case resulting in a hung jury. Whitaker served a 28 month sentence because one of the jurors refused to vote for murder because her son had been involved in a traffic accident involving a child (Oregon, 1999).

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Letting the Supermajority Rule: Non- unanimous jury verdicts in criminal trials

The jury represents the people “standing between a possibly oppressive government and the lonely, accused individual” (Glasser, 1997). Statistics show that hung juries can lead to a mistrial in 5 to 12 percent of the more than 200,000 felony criminal jury trials that occur in the United States each year (Glasser, 1997). Reducing the frequency of hung juries without sacrificing justice should be a priority to increase the efficiency of the criminal justice system. Majority-rule juries render a verdict more quickly and tend to adopt a verdict-driven deliberation style, which jurors vote early and conduct discussion in an adversarial manner, rather evidence-driven style, in which jurors first discuss the evidence as one group and vote later. The majority-rule juries generally vote sooner than unanimity rules juries (Glasser, 1997).

Why non-unanimous jury verdicts are Constitutional in criminal cases

Schwartz state that unanimity in criminal jury verdicts are not worth preserving and would rather have majority verdicts given by jurors who are strongly encouraged to stick to their principles. The elimination of the unanimity rule would also eliminate the use of peremptory challenges. Both eliminations would create more fully deliberative juries because the jury would better represent a fair cross section of the community and more voices will be heard (Schwartz, 2009).

Case Study – Are Hung Juries a Problem

Hannaford-Agor, Hans, Mott and Munsterman (2002) did a four year study under a grant from the National Institute of Justice, the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) on juror deadlock.

Methodology

Broad-based survey of federal and state courts to document hung jury rates

The project team selected four courts for an in-depth jurisdictional study on nearly 400 felony trials. Using surveys of judges, attorneys, and jurors, the NCSC examined case characteristics, interpersonal dynamics during jury deliberations, and juror demographics and attitudes and compared these traits in cases in which the jury reached a verdict to cases in which the jury deadlocked on one or more charges.

A case study of 46 deadlocked cases from the in-depth jurisdictional study to develop classification of reasons for jury deadlock

Data Collection

Surveyors

Responses

Judges

90%

Lawyers

88%

Jurors

80%

From approximately 100 non-capital felony jury trials in each of the sites between June 2000 and August 2001. The final dataset consisted of a total 382 cases, with which 13 percent of the cases hung on one or more charges.

Findings

The average hung jury rate was 6.2% only slightly higher than the 5.5% reported by Kalven and Zeisel in 1966, but with a great deal of variation ranging from 0.1% in Pierce County, Washington to 14.8% in Los Angeles County, California in which both states are immediately surrounding Oregon: a non-unanimous state. The proposal was to eliminate the requirement of all jurors to decide unanimously on a verdict reduces hung jury rates, but the limitation was the author ignored addressing why one or two individuals refused to comply with the majority. Twenty percent of jurors admitted that they did not begin to form an opinion about the evidence until they collaborated with the other jurors and one-quarter changed their minds about their first decision preferences because of deliberation.

Conclusion

The findings was juries that hung reported more trouble remembering the evidence and law, less thorough discussions of the evidence during deliberations, more conflict among the jurors and more domination by one or two jurors and a larger presence of unreasonable people on the jury. Hung jurors were also considerably less satisfied with the deliberation process than verdict jurors (Hannaford-Agor, Hans, Mott, & Munsterman, 2002).

Case Study- On the Frequency of Non-Unanimous Felony Verdicts in Oregon

The Oregon Public Defense Services (OPDS) embark on the task to collect and analyze quantifiable data relating to the regularity of non-unanimous verdicts.

Methodology

Data was collected from the Oregon Judicial Information Network (OJIN)

Calendar Year

Felony jury trials that reached the verdict stage

2007

833

2008

588

Total

1421

Calendar Year

Indigent Appeal Request

2007

320

2008

342

Total

662 (out of 1421)

The 662 appeals represented 46.5% of all felony jury trials, which was divided into three groups and was classified by jury verdict form, the judgment and transcript recordation of the polling of the jury.

Unanimous jury verdict

Non-Unanimous jury verdict

Unclear from records

Findings

65.5% of all cases included a non-unanimous verdict on at least one count.

27 out of 833 felony jury trials in Oregon for 2007 resulted in a hung jury, yielding a hung jury rate of 3.2%.

15 out of the 588 felony jury trials Oregon for 2008 resulted in a hung jury, yielding a hung jury rate of 2.5%.

Conclusion

The data indicated that non-unanimous juries occur with great frequency in felony trials throughout the state. If we were to assume that all in the unknown cases, where polling was not conducted, and unanimity was the result, non-unanimity would still be present in over 40% of all felony jury verdicts. Oregon juries are frequently utilizing the non-unanimous option (Office of Public Defense Services, Apellate Divison, 2009).

Too frequently, however, juries acquit deliberately guilty defendants, convict obviously guilty defendants of much lesser offenses, fail to deliberate sufficiently, or fail to reach a verdict in cases with overwhelming evidence.

Methodology

The data for this research were obtained through policy analysis such as precedent cases and constitutional laws from legal briefs. Quantitative data was constructed into charts to show arrest rates for murder, forcible rape and armed robbery in the year of 2007 and 2008. The charts also represent the clearance rate of those particular offenses and the percent change from 2007 to 2008. Additional states were included into the charts with Louisiana and Oregon to see if there is a difference in arrest rates and clearance rate in the immediately surrounding states. All quantitative data was collected from the Federal Bureau of Investigations Uniform Crime Report. Various case studies and professional opinions were collected through scholarly Criminal Justice and Law journal articles. The data begins from 1997 to 2009 because election time was approaching and this issue has been repeatedly trying to be amended to reverse the non-unanimity rule in Louisiana and Oregon.

Data

The following charts represent the arrest rates for violent crimes (Murder, Forcible Rape and Armed Robbery) in Louisiana and Oregon; non-unanimous states and the immediate four surrounding state that require unanimity. Each given number was computed to show the percentages.

Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report Arrest Rates 2007

MURDER

FORCIBLE RAPE

ARMED ROBBERY

TOTAL VIOLENT CRIMES

Louisiana

Non-Unanimous

242 (3.0%)

324 (4.0%)

1,119 (14.0%)

8,014

Mississippi

Unanimous

83 (4.6%)

135 (7.5%)

545 (30.5%)

1,789

Arkansas

Unanimous

60 (2.0%)

143 (4.9%)

416 (14.2%)

2,937

Texas

Unanimous

759 (2.3%)

1,947 (5.8%)

7,593 (23.0%)

33,309

Oklahoma

Unanimous

183 (3.2%)

319 (5.6%)

793 (14.0%)

5,665

Oregon

Non-Unanimous

82 (1.67%)

294 (6.0%)

1,173 (23.8%)

4,938

Washington

Unanimous

115 (1.5%)

770 (10.1%)

1,915 (25.1%)

7,616

Nevada

Unanimous

151 (2.7%)

186 (3.3%)

1,739 (31.1%)

5,595

Idaho

Unanimous

33 (2.3%)

114 (7.8%)

74 (5.1%)

1,457

California

Unanimous

2,022 (1.6%)

2,141 (1.7%)

21,064 (17.0%)

124,293

*Includes arrest rates for all ages (18 and younger and 19 and older)

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*Percentages are rounded up to the next factor

*Violent crimes are offenses of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

Source: Adapted by United States Department of Justice – Federal Bureau of Investigations, September 2009.

Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report Arrest Rates 2008

MURDER

FORCIBLE RAPE

ARMED ROBBERY

TOTAL VIOLENT CRIMES

Louisiana

Non-Unanimous

183 (2.0%)

238 (2.6%)

1,035 (11.2%)

9,236

Mississippi

Unanimous

135 (6.9%)

165 (8.5%)

572 (29.4%)

1,946

Arkansas

Unanimous

118 (2.5%)

194 (4.1%)

623 (13.1%)

4,749

Texas

Unanimous

863 (2.5%)

2,034 (5.9%)

8,199 (23.9%)

34,235

Oklahoma

Unanimous

160 (2.7%)

316 (5.3%)

831 (14.0%)

5,956

Oregon

Non-Unanimous

95 (2.0%)

276 (5.7%)

1,187 (24.5%)

4,844

Washington

Unanimous

104 (1.5%)

675 (9.7%)

1,637 (23.6%)

6,943

Nevada

Unanimous

11 (.17%)

31 (.48%)

369 (56.2%)

6,516

Idaho

Unanimous

14 (.98%)

102 (7.2%)

97 (6.8%)

1,425

California

Unanimous

1,850(1.48%)

2,088 (1.67%)

22,391(17.9%)

125,235

*Includes arrest rates for all ages (18 and younger and 19 and older)

*Percentages are rounded up to the next factor

*Violent crimes are offenses of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

Source: Adapted by United States Department of Justice – Federal Bureau of Investigations, September 2009.

The following charts represent the clearance rates for violent crimes (Murder, Forcible Rape and Armed Robbery) in Louisiana and Oregon; non-unanimous states and the immediate four surrounding state that require unanimity.

Federal Bureau of Investigations Uniform Crime Report Clearance Rate 2007

MURDER

FORCIBLE RAPE

ARMED ROBBERY

Louisiana

Non-Unanimous

14.2

32.4

141.7

Mississippi

Unanimous

7.1

35.6

98.2

Arkansas

Unanimous

6.7

44.7

106.7

Texas

Unanimous

5.9

35.3

162.2

Oklahoma

Unanimous

6.1

43.1

93.2

Oregon

Non-Unanimous

1.9

33.5

76.4

Washington

Unanimous

2.7

40.6

93.6

Nevada

Unanimous

7.5

42.7

270.2

Idaho

Unanimous

3.3

38.5

15.5

California

Unanimous

5.8

24.2

188.8

*Per 100,000 persons

*Populations are U.S. Census Bureau provisional estimates as of July 1, 2008 and July 1, 2007

Source: Adapted by United States Department of Justice – Federal Bureau of Investigations, September 2009.

Federal Bureau of Investigations Uniform Crime Report Clearance Rate 2008

MURDER

FORCIBLE RAPE

ARMED ROBBERY

Oregon

Non-Unanimous

2.2

30.5

69.7

Washington

Unanimous

2.9

40.1

96.9

Nevada

Unanimous

6.3

42.4

248.9

Idaho

Unanimous

1.5

36.2

15.8

California

Unanimous

5.8

24.2

188.8

Louisiana

Non-Unanimous

11.9

27.9

135.9

Mississippi

Unanimous

8.1

30.3

102.6

Arkansas

Unanimous

5.7

44.8

95.8

Texas

Unanimous

5.6

32.9

155.2

Oklahoma

Unanimous

5.8

40.2

101.1

*Per 100,000 persons

*Populations are U.S. Census Bureau provisional estimates as of July 1, 2008 and July 1, 2007

Source: Adapted by United States Department of Justice – Federal Bureau of Investigations, September 2009.

Federal Bureau of Investigations Uniform Crime Report Percent Change from 2007 to 2008 Clearance Rate

MURDER

FORCIBLE RAPE

ARMED ROBBERY

Louisiana

Non-Unanimous

-15.6

-13.9

-4.1

Mississippi

Unanimous

+13.2

-15.0

+4.5

Arkansas

Unanimous

-15.8

+9.2

-10.2

Texas

Unanimous

-4.9

-6.7

-4.3

Oklahoma

Unanimous

-5.2

-6.6

+8.4

Oregon

Non-Unanimous

+11.1

-8.9

-8.8

Washington

Unanimous

+9.6

-1.3

+3.6

Nevada

Unanimous

-16.2

-.08

-7.9

Idaho

Unanimous

-53.8

-6.2

+1.8

California

Unanimous

-5.7

-1.8

-2.2

*Per 100,000 persons

*Populations are U.S. Census Bureau provisional estimates as of July 1, 2008 and July 1, 2007

Source: Adapted by United States Department of Justice – Federal Bureau of Investigations, September 2009.

Findings

The following charts represent the averages of the data collected in percentages.

Comparison of 2007 and 2008 Arrest and Clearance Rates

**All averages were rounded to the nearest tenths.

Arrest and Clearance in 2007 and 2008 were fairly even within each state with the exception of Idaho. Idaho is the only state that shows a true decrease in arrest from 2007 to 2008 with a trending increase in clearance.

The Percent Change in Clearance Rate between 2007 and 2008

Idaho had a major decrease in clearance rate which is a unanimous state and Oregon a non-unanimous state had the least decrease in clearance rate

Comparison of 2007 and 2008 Arrest and Clearance Rates

**All averages were rounded to the nearest tenths.

Louisiana and Arkansas has a small decrease in arrest rates from 2007 and 2008 but also has a decrease in clearance rate from 2007 to 2008. Overall there are no major differences from 2007 to 2008 in Arrest and Clearance.

The Percent Change in Clearance Rate between 2007 and 2008

Majority of the states had a decrease in clearance from the year of 2007 to 2008 meaning more defendants were being convicted of criminal charges. Mississippi had a minor increase in defendants not being convicted from 2007 to 2008. Overall, Louisiana had the highest decrease, which shows approximately 20% difference versus the non-unanimity states.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the relationship between the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment regarding criminal cases has no difference in relationship among unanimous jury verdict and non-unanimous jury verdict states. The research provided did not show that a criminal defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights were violated based on statue because the Fourteenth Amendment allows states to determine the number of jurors needed to ensure an impartial jury. The jury is considered non-biased as long as it includes 12 members of the community. Based on the findings the effects Louisiana and Oregon’s statues had on the conviction rate based on the arrest rates of violent crimes (murder, forcible rape and armed robbery) were minimal. In comparison to the immediate surrounding states of the two unanimity states, the arrest rates were fairly less in 2007 and 2008 as well as there was no major difference in arrest within Louisiana and Oregon in 2007 and 2008.

The impact of Louisiana’s statues on clearance rate was approximately 50% higher than its surrounding states. A suggested reason for more defendants being convicted in Louisiana in the year of 2007 and 2008 versus the four surrounding states would be because of the statewide national disaster Hurricane Katrina of 2005, which left the residents in need of resources by any means necessary and left many without homes and without protection. Oregon’s statue on non-unanimity had a positive impact in regards to the other unanimous state’s clearance rate because it had more defendants being cleared from charges. Oregon not requiring unanimity prevents hung decisions which allows the state to spend less money for retrials as well as provides the defendant with a fair jury versus unanimous states where the jury can not come to a decision the case will be thrown out and retried again which provides more evidence to be found for or against the defendant and more money spent on the jury selection process. Overall, the research indicates that there is no relationship between unanimous versus non-unanimous criminal jury verdicts in regards to the sixth and fourteenth amendment.

Recommendation

I recommend that the policy for unanimity in criminal jury verdicts change to allow fairness to the defendant, have community representation and provide efficiency within the court system. If the policy considered having a verdict determined by 9 to 3 vote this would ensure that the majority has the decision versus a 12 vote which could lead to a mistrial if unable to agree. In a 9 to 3 vote, the decision is supported by 75% of the jury and preserves the quality of the jury decision making process.

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