Senate approves bill to place 6-member juries on ballot

March 31, 1992|By John W. Frece | John W. Frece,Annapolis Bureau

ANNAPOLIS -- When Maryland voters go to the polls this fall, they may be asked to change the state Constitution to permit civil cases to be heard by juries of six instead of the traditional 12.

The Senate voted unanimously last night in favor of two House bills on the issue.

One would send the proposed constitutional amendment to voters in a November referendum and the other would put the change into effect if the voters approve it.

The measures would have to be signed into law by the governor. The legislation would not affect criminal cases, which still would require 12-member juries.

Backers said the change is necessary as a cost-cutting measure and because of the difficulty of finding a large-enough jury pool.

Sen. Norman R. Stone, D-Baltimore County, who is vice chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, said a number of other states already have enacted similar laws.

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