News & Articles

23 September 2016


Illinois Supreme Court rules PA 98-1132 unconstitutional and parties may now demand 12-member juries again

As you may recall, we previously reported to you that the Illinois legislature enacted Public Act 98-1132 which reduced the size of juries in Illinois courts to 6-members as opposed to the traditional 12 members. The Act also raised the pay for jurors significantly. That Act was challenged in the Cook County Circuit Court case, Kakos v. Butler et al. (Ct. No. 2015-L-6691) (Kakos Opinion.pdf) case. In that case, the court ruled that the Illinois Legislature’s amendment of 735 ILCS 5/2-1105 was unconstitutional on its face and could not reasonably be construed in a manner that would preserve its validity. The case was appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court which has now issued its opinion in that matter in a 5-0 vote, holding that the right to a trial by jury includes the right to demand a 12-member jury. The Court found that the framers of the Illinois Constitution intended to prohibit the General Assembly from reducing the size of juries in Article I, § 13 of the Bill of Rights to the 1970 Constitution of the State of Illinois. According to the Court, the provision concerning this issue was not severable and thus the entire Act was held invalid. Justice Garman wrote the opinion (attached). Therefore, defendants can once again demand 12-member juries in Illinois.