WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court docket on Monday declined over the objection of two justices to determine whether or not defendants dealing with critical prison costs are legally entitled to a 12-person jury, rejecting an enchantment from an Arizona man convicted of fraud by a jury of simply eight individuals.
The choice to not take up the enchantment introduced by defendant Ramin Khorrami means states can proceed to make use of of six- or eight-person juries for felony offenses. Arizona and 5 different states — Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts and Utah — enable the apply. Florida, the third most populous state, makes use of six-person juries for all non-death penalty-eligible prison instances.
Conservative Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh stated they might have taken up the case, with Gorsuch writing a 10-page dissenting opinion taking purpose on the Supreme Court docket’s 1970 resolution that stated juries might be as small as six individuals.
“For nearly all of this nation’s historical past and centuries earlier than that, the suitable to trial by jury for critical prison offenses meant the suitable to a trial earlier than 12 members of the group,” Gorsuch wrote.
That modified with the 1970 ruling, which was primarily based on social science, not regulation, he added.
“That mistake continues to undermine the integrity of the nation’s judicial proceedings and deny the American individuals a liberty their predecessors lengthy and justly thought-about inviolable,” Gorsuch wrote.
Khorrami’s legal professionals argue that the Structure’s Sixth Modification assure to trial by jury, a bedrock authorized principal, essentially requires 12 individuals, a practice that dates from medieval England to the present age. A 12-person jury is a typical function in dramatic depictions of prison trials, such because the 1957 traditional movie “12 Indignant Males.”
On a associated subject, the courtroom dominated in 2020 that the suitable to trial by jury requires a unanimous verdict for critical crimes, a choice that overturned a 1972 Supreme Court docket ruling and ended the apply of permitting convictions by divided juries in two outlier states, Louisiana and Oregon.
The Sixth Modification doesn’t particularly say how many individuals are required to serve on a jury, however Khorrami’s legal professionals say it will have been assumed on the time it was written to check with a 12-person jury.
Khorrami was convicted of fraud and theft over a scheme relationship again to 2013 involving a married lady with whom he had a relationship. He threatened to reveal the affair to the lady’s husband if she didn’t pay him $40,000. The lady, whose title was not revealed in courtroom papers, in the end paid $34,000 earlier than telling her husband what had occurred, prompting a prison investigation.
The jury convicted Khorrami on each counts and he was sentenced to 2 months in jail and supervised probation.
An intermediate state appeals courtroom upheld Khorrami’s convictions in July 2021. In February of this 12 months, the Arizona Supreme Court docket declined to listen to Khorrami’s case.