APODACA v. OREGON

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
69-5046
Petitioner 
Apodaca
Respondent 
Oregon
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the respondents)
(Argued the cause for the petitioners)
(Reargued the cause for the petitioners)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Apodaca and two other defendants were convicted of assault, burglary, and grand larceny before three separate juries, all of which returned verdicts which were less than unanimous. Two of the cases were 11-1 and the other was 10-2 in favor of conviction.

Question 

Is a defendant's right to a trial by jury in a criminal case in a state court (as protected by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments) violated if the accused is convicted by a less-than-unanimous jury?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Oregon, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Right to Trial By Jury

No. In a close decision the Court found that the accused's right to a jury trial does not require that juries return unanimous decisions in order to convict. After reviewing the history and function of juries in American society, the Court held that the most important function of the jury is to provide "commonsense judgment" in evaluating the respective arguments of accused and accuser. Requiring unanimity would not necessarily contribute to this function. A distinction was drawn, however, between capital and non- capital crimes.

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APODACA v. OREGON. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 23 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1970/1970_69_5046>.
APODACA v. OREGON, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1970/1970_69_5046 (last visited October 23, 2014).
"APODACA v. OREGON," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 23, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1970/1970_69_5046.