Willamette Law Online

Oregon Court of Appeals


ListPreviousNext


State v. Sagdal

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 10-09-2013
Case #: A146601
De Muniz, S. J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Nakamoto, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A146601.pdf

Criminal Procedure: Under Article I, section 11 and Article VII (Amended), section 9 of the Oregon Constitution, it is proper for the trial court to empanel a six-person jury for a defendant’s misdemeanor case, and that jury’s verdict is valid.

Defendant appealed a judgment of conviction for reckless driving. Conviction was based on a unanimous verdict of a six-member jury, despite Defendant’s request for a jury of at least 10 people before trial. On appeal, Defendant argued that admission of certain evidence violated Defendant’s rights under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. That issue was rejected without discussion. Next, Defendant contended that the trial court violated Article I, section 11 of the Oregon Constitution when a jury of less than 10 people was empaneled and the verdict from that jury was accepted. Article I, section 11 of the Oregon Constitution provides that any criminal defendant that is tried in circuit court is entitled to a jury of at least 10 people. Lastly, Defendant claims the trial court also violated Article VII (Amended), section 9 of the Oregon Constitution, which allows the legislature to provide for juries consisting of less than 12 people. The court harmonized the two constitutional provisions to conclude that the intent for the provision in Article I, section 11 was to provide for nonunanimous jury verdicts in felony cases with a 12-person jury in circuit court, not to require a minimum number of people to compose a jury. Additionally, Article VII (Amended), section 9 was not intended to be limited to courts other than circuit courts. Therefore, the Court held that it was proper for the trial court to empanel a six-person jury and the jury’s verdict is valid. Affirmed.