Montana Juries Right to Judge Amendment (2010)

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The Montana Juries Right to Judge Amendment, also known as CI 104, did not appear on the November 2, 2010 ballot in the state of Montana as an initiated constitutional amendment. The proposed amendment was submitted to the Secretary of State on November 24, 2009 for approval of circulation. The measure was certified for circulation, leaving organizers to gather signatures for the June 18, 2010 petition drive deadline. The initiative was filed by Frank Kucera. Sponsors of the measure did not gather enough signatures to place the measure on the ballot.[1]

Text of measure

Ballot title

The ballot title of the measure read:[2]

Under Montana law, the trial judge directs the jury to apply the law contained in instructions provided by the trial judge. CI-104 amends the Montana Constitution to allow counsel in a criminal case to inform the jury that it may disregard the judge’s legal instructions and determine the law as well as the facts.

[ ] FOR amending the Montana Constitution to allow counsel to inform criminal trial jurors that they may determine the law as well as the facts.

[ ] AGAINST amending the Montana Constitution to allow counsel to inform criminal trial jurors that they may determine the law as well as the facts.

Constitutional changes

Article II,Section 26 of the Montana Constitution would have been amended to read:[3]

Section 26. Trial by Jury.

(1) The right of trial by jury is secured to all and shall remain inviolate. But upon default of appearance or by consent of the parties expressed in such manner as the law may provide, all cases may be tried without a jury or before fewer than the number of jurors provided by law.
(2) In all civil actions, two-thirds of the jury may render a verdict, and a verdict so rendered shall have the same force and effect as if all had concurred therein.
(3) In all criminal actions, the verdict shall be unanimous. In the trial of all criminal cases, no judge or other officer of the court may prevent or restrict the jury at trial from being provided or receiving information from counsel about the right of the jury to judge the law as well as the facts.

The current section reads:

The right of trial by jury is secured to all and shall remain inviolate. But upon default of appearance or by consent of the parties expressed in such manner as the law may provide, all cases may be tried without a jury or before fewer than the number of jurors provided by law. In all civil actions, two-thirds of the jury may render a verdict, and a verdict so rendered shall have the same force and effect as if all had concurred therein. In all criminal actions, the verdict shall be unanimous.

Path to the ballot

See also Laws governing the initiative process in Montana

Petition circulators had until the June 18, 2010 petition drive deadline to turn in the required 48,673 signatures, since the proposed measure was a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment. Reports out of Montana were saying that the measure's sponsors were certain that they had not collected enough signatures to qualify it for the ballot. Counties had until July 16, 2010 to send verified signatures to the Montana Secretary of State's office, where the Secretary of State may or may not qualify it for the ballot, pending another review of signatures. Sponsors did not collect enough signatures for the ballot.[4][5]

See also

Additional reading

References