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ARCP Rule 48: Juries of less Than 12 — Majority verdict

Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure

VI. TRIALS

Rule 48. Juries of less than twelve — Majority verdict

The parties may stipulate that the jury shall consist of any number less than twelve (12) or that a verdict or a finding of a stated majority of the jurors shall be taken as the verdict or finding of the jury.

(dc) District court rule. Rule 48 does not apply in the district courts.

Committee Comments on 1973 Adoption

A jury, within the meaning of Constitution of 1901, § 11, means a jury of twelve. E.g., Woodward Iron Co. v. Cabiniss, 87 Ala. 328, 6 So. 300 (1889); Jones, Trial by Jury in Alabama, 8 Ala.L.Rev. 274, 291-2 (1956). But the right to a jury of twelve may be waived, even in criminal cases. Kirk v. State, 247 Ala. 43, 22 So.2d 431 (1945). There is no statutory means now available, however, for the parties to consent to a jury of less than twelve initially. This rule provides such a means. Since its application is based upon consent of both parties, no reasonable constitutional problem should arise. It should be particularly useful in a case where no alternate jurors have been provided, and a juror becomes disabled before the case is submitted to the jury.

Jury verdicts under present law must be unanimous. E.g., McCalley v. Penney, 191 Ala. 369, 67 So. 696 (1918); Seals Piano & Organ Co. v. Bell, 17 Ala.App. 331, 84 So. 779 (1920). Compare Jones, Trial by Jury in Alabama, 8 Ala.L.Rev. 274, 288-90 (1956). But there are no decisions indicating that the right to a unanimous verdict may not be waived. This rule, taken from Federal Rule 48, would permit the parties to agree in advance to accept a non-unanimous
verdict.