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12-member jury proposal moves forward (UPDATE)

By: Eric Heisig//January 14, 2014//

12-member jury proposal moves forward (UPDATE)

By: Eric Heisig//January 14, 2014//

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The state Assembly passed a measure Tuesday to ensure that all criminal defendants in Wisconsin can have their case tried before a 12-member jury.

The bill passed with a voice vote and no discussion during the Assembly’s first meeting of the 2014 session.

It ensures that all cases – felony and misdemeanor – are eligible for a 12-person jury. Fewer jurors could be used, but all parties would have to agree to it.

The measure was put forward by the legislature’s Republican-controlled Law Revision Committee, which contains senators and representatives. The bill next goes to the Senate for approval.

A similar bill was put forward in August by a former judge, Rep. Fred Kessler, D-Milwaukee, but the Committee on Judiciary never held a hearing on it. Kessler said his bill was inspired by George Zimmerman’s trial in Florida having only six jurors to decide whether Zimmerman committed second-degree murder when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin.

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