Waiving a unanimous jury verdict

In at least one state, Florida, it is possible for the defendant to waive his/her right to a unanimous verdict if the jury is deadlocked. For example, if the jury can’t resolve a 10-2 split, the defendant can allow a majority decision without knowing in advance which way the jury is leaning.

Which states allow the defendant to waive this right? Is this a recent thing? I had never heard of this until today.

I don’t know but he I think can change his plea to guilty

If you meant this case, the procedure seems to be spelled out pretty clearly.

Fact is, nowhere in the U.S. constitution is jury procedure spelled out. Beyond ensuring that trials are fair, the Feds yield all procedural control to the several states, who determine their own standards regarding the number of jurors and what to do in case of a deadlock.

I don’t know either. Although not exactly on the point of the OP, this page Nonunanimous Verdicts seems to indicate that a less than unanimous verdict passes constitutional tests because it doesn’t necessarily negate the reasons behind the defendant’s right to jury trial.

I searched for “waiver of unanimous verdicts” and got a lot of hits. A thorough search of them would probably yield an answer.

That’s not entirely accurate. The 14th Amendment guarantee of due process places substantive restrictions on states’ ability to fool with criminal procedure in general and trial by jury in particular. For instance, states cannot deprive a defendant of a jury trial for any crime that could result in a sentence of confinement. Williams v. Florida established that a jury of six persons instead of twelve was acceptable, but indicated that a smaller number might well be unconstitutional and also indicated that more serious crimes might require larger juries. Johnson v. Louisiana established that a nonunanimous vote was acceptable, but again left open the possibility that anything less might still be unconstitutional.

General info here: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment06/04.html#2

“anything less” in the Johnson discussion refers to that case’s 9-3 guilty vote in a crime punishable by prison and hard labor. Sorry for the confusion.

Well, I’ll weasel out of my apparant inaccuracy by stressing my original “beyond ensuring that trials are fair” qualification. Barring some major procedural challenge brought to the Federal District Courts, the states still have considerable leeway in trial procedure. The 14th was meant to cut down on the more egregious abuses, and coupled with civil rights violation suits, seem to be doing a good job of keeping the states in check most of the time (horrific counter-examples are easy to find, but the age of the white-only jury is long gone).

The sixth amendment confirms “the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed” without supplying any nitty-grtty details regarding exact procedure.