The 12 person jury system has been a longstanding right since the beginning of the Alabama criminal justice system. Well, that may soon be changing. State Senator Orr sponsored SB 112 (click here to read the bill) which would only allow for 6 persons to serve on a jury for misdemeanor cases. This would include most DUI cases.
What does this mean in the real world? One view is it makes it easier for the government to obtain a conviction. It only takes one dissenting juror to cause a hung jury. So if the government has to only convince six people as opposed to twelve then that may be easier.
The second reason offered reason is the savings of money. In the Fiscal Report associated with the bill, it’s claimed that 40% of the cases tried to a jury would be to 6 jurors under this bill. $375,000 would be saved in administrative costs having a 6 person jury as opposed to 12 persons.
So to sum it up, Alabama legislature thinks this bill will 1) make it easier to obtain a DUI conviction 2) save the State of Alabama a bunch of money.