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Oregon Murder Conviction by Nonunanimous Jury Verdict, Measure 72 (1999)

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The Oregon Murder Conviction by Nonunanimous Jury Verdict Amendment, also known as Measure 72, was on the November 2, 1999 ballot in Oregon as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was defeated. The measure would have allowed conviction for murder by nonunanimous, or eleven to one, jury verdict.[1]

Election results

Oregon Measure 72 (1999)
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No382,68554.74%
Yes 316,351 45.26%

Election results via: Oregon Blue Book

Ballot title

HJR 92 - Amends Constitution: Allows Murder Conviction By 11 to 1 Jury Verdict[2]

Support

[3] Many supporters of the measure were crime victims who knew first-hand how one juror can subvert justice. Steve Doell of Crime Victims United recalled when his young daughter was struck by a car and killed while walking down the street. The driver fled the scene but was later caught, where he admitted that he struck the girl on purpose. The driver was brought to trial.

"Luckily [for the accused]" says Doell, "one of the jurors refused to vote for murder because her son had been involved in a traffic accident involving a child. To their disgust, the other jurors were forced to settle for a lesser crime of second-degree manslaughter in order to avoid the case ending in a hung jury. As a result, Whitaker served only 28 months in prison!"

Others supported the measure for similar reasons, also pointing out that in a death penalty case, a unanimous vote would still be required.

Opposition

[4] The opposition takes the other side, arguing that innocent people could be put in jail due to that "one" juror's opinion being thrown out.

Attorney Elden Rosenthal has experienced several cases where clients were convicted, only to be released later when new evidence was found to clear them. Rosenthal said Measure 72, "would significantly weaken those procedures and requirements, and would allow mistakes to happen more often, would allow more innocent people to be convicted."

Much of the opposition pointed out that people can and have been wrongfully accused, and the system should make it as difficult as possible to convict an innocent person.

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