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IL Law Update: Constitutional Challenge to 6-person Jury Statement Amendment
Cook County, IL regarding the legislature’s recent amendment of 735 ILCS 5/2-1105, essentially limiting juries to 6 members as opposed to the 12-member juries previously provided. The plaintiff’s brief (Response_in_Opposition_to_Motion_to_Declare_Public) was recently filed. The brief argues that 6-member juries are just as capable of rendering a constitutionally fair verdict as 12-member juries pointing out that the U.S. Supreme Ct. has found 6-member juries to be Constitutional. Williams v. Florida, 399 U.S. 78 (1970). Plaintiff also argues several other points including that many states utilize 6-member juries, that the ‘trial by jury’ right has always been subject to reasonable restrictions and that the public policy reasoning behind the legislature’s amendment is important in deciding the constitutionality of the amendment. The plaintiff goes on to argue that nothing in the Illinois Constitution’s history prohibits 6-person juries and the Illinois Assembly did not violate Separation of Powers because it has regulated jury demands as a function of civil procedure and because the statute has been amended before without constitutional violation. A hearing has been set for December 22 and final ruling is due by December 31 on this issue.