‘Continues to undermine the integrity of the nation’s judicial proceedings’
A public-interest law team is warning that the U.S. Supreme Court has gone into dangerous territory – now denying defendants in criminal cases their constitutional right to a 12-person jury trial.
The comments come from the Rutherford Institute, which had filed a brief in the case Khorrami v. Arizona.
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In that case, the state had determined that courts could essentially avoid the requirement found in the 6th Amendment for 12-person juries and give defendants a jury of only eight members.
“In refusing to hear an appeal in Khorrami v. Arizona, the Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling that undermines the longstanding right to have a trial by an impartial jury of twelve fellow citizens,” the institute reported. “In his dissent over the denial of the appeal, Justice Neil Gorsuch agreed with the arguments advanced by The Rutherford Institute and the ACLU in their amicus brief, and warned that allowing juries of less than twelve people for serious criminal charges ‘continues to undermine the integrity of the Nation’s judicial proceedings and deny the American people a liberty their predecessors long and justly considered inviolable.'”
“We now live in a society in which a person can be accused of any number of crimes without knowing what exactly he has done. He might be apprehended in the middle of the night by a roving band of SWAT police. He might find himself on a no-fly list, unable to travel for reasons undisclosed. He might have his phones or internet tapped based upon a secret order handed down by a secret court, with no recourse to discover why he was targeted,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute.
“The Sixth Amendment serves as an antidote to the abuses of the American police state: ensuring that when people are accused of a crime, they know what they’re being charged with and are given the opportunity to have a fair, speedy and public trial, an impartial jury, the right to a lawyer, and the chance to confront and question their accusers.”
The Khorrami case involved defendant Ramin Khorrami, who was convicted by eight jurors over fraudulent schemes and theft.