In Miami and the rest of Florida, it is held that a jury can use a panel of only 6 people except for cases in which the charge is first-degree murder, which requires a 12-member jury. While we’re generally led to believe that all or most cases require a panel of 12 jurors, this is more or less a byproduct of popular culture – movies, television shows and the perpetuation therein. In fact, most states use only 6 jurors for misdemeanors.
Florida, on the other hand, uses only 6 jurors when trying to reach a court verdict on felonies as well (Connecticutis the only other state that does this). This is problematic because Florida has one of the highest rates of wrongful conviction.
In 1970, the United States Supreme Court gave its stamp of approval to the usage of a 6-member jury in a Florida case, citing that a 12-member jury panel is more or less a “historical accident” and that the Constitution is not abridged by the use of 6 people.
With half as many people to convince, the prosecution has an easier game of making its case, and jurors with reservations are more likely to be overpowered by small-group consensus; whereas in a larger jury, they might find someone who shares those reservations and can open an avenue for further exploration and deliberation before delivering a court verdict.
Contact a Team of Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you have been arrested as a suspect involved in the commission of a crime against Floridalaws, you should contact a lawyer from a dedicated team of criminal defense attorneys immediately. The sooner that a lawyer becomes involved on your behalf, the more likely it is that your lawyer may be able to get your charges reduced, sentence suspended, or in certain instances, have your case dropped altogether. Consult a Miami attorney about your case today.