Across the United States 12-member juries are used in all felony cases. Not in Florida. A 1970’s state law only requires 6-member jury.
“When somebody stands to go to prison for the rest of their life, or for 30 years, I think a 12 person jury is important,” said Tom Powell.
In the recent George Zimmerman trial, six women were used in the case. Only one was non-Caucasian. Zimmerman was eventually acquitted in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Representative Randolph Bracy has been drafting a bill which would change the state law, this proposal would require 12 jurors in felony trials.
“They have more people and more opinions,” said Rep. Randolph Bracy.
Currently the only time a 12-member jury is used in the Sunshine State is for Capital Punishment cases and when the state tries to take over your property.
“This is part of our trial, court system. I think it needs some changes,” said Bracy.
Florida is one of two states with six-member juries, the only other state in the country is Connecticut.
Supporters are concerned money will keep the law the same.
“There no doubt will be a fiscal impact. You have to call more jurors if you have a jury of 12,” said Powell.
Currently jurors are not paid anything for the first three days of a trial. After day three, they are paid 40-dollars a day.
Florida first started using six jury members in 1967 in non-capital cases.