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Sen. Margolis Proposes 12 Member Juries in Felony Cases

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Under a bill filed by Sen. Gwen Margolis future felony life cases, such as George Zimmerman’s recent self-defense trial in the death of 17-year old Trayvon Martin, would require 12-member juries.

The Miami senator’s proposal calls for 12 member juries for trials that include all capital and life felony cases, such as first degree murder, with six allowed to try all other criminal cases. Also, the jury would have to reflect the demographics of the county in which the trial is being held, according to the bill.

Critics of Florida’s self-defense laws have questioned why the jury for the trial of Zimmerman had six members, all of whom were women.

Zimmerman was acquitted July 13 in the February 2012 death of Martin. Rep.

Randolph Bracy, D-Orlando, who held a town hall meeting in Ocoee last week that included a discussion on jury sizes , has also proposed filing a similar bill in the House.

“I would think with the stakes that high, they at least deserve a jury of 12,” Bracy said. “They take more time. They have more people, more opinions. It’s more deliberate. It increases the chances of getting it right.”

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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