Chapter 7Trial • This chapter examines • Differences between bench and jury trials • The concept of a public trial • The right of the press to attend the trial • Defendant’s right to a jury trial • What constitutes a petty offense • Makeup of juries
Bench Trial Versus Jury Trial • Bench trial–judge is the fact finder and the lawgiver • Jury trial–the jury is the fact finder and the judge the lawgiver • Why would an accused select a bench trial rather than a jury trial?
Right to a Jury Trial • Sixth Amendment, U.S. Constitution • Patton v. United States • Trial by jury with less than 12 jurors was upheld • Sanctioned the right of defendant to waive his or her right to a jury • Petty offenses • Federal criminal courts—right to jury trial • State criminal courts—no federal constitutional right to jury trial for petty offenses
Right to Trial by Jury • Includes right to be tried by an impartial jury. • Jury made up of peers? • Does it mean that defendant has a right to be tried by his or her peers?
Is There a Right to Demand Trial by Judge Alone? • Singer v. United States • No correlative federal constitutional right to demand trial by judge alone. • May have right under state statutes in state criminal cases to demand trial by judge alone. • In the majority of states, the prosecutor may request a trial by jury when the defendant waives his or her right to a jury trial. In this case, the judge has the discretion on whether to try the case as a bench trial or impanel a jury.
Petty Offenses • No federal constitutional right to a trial by jury in state courts for petty offenses. District of Columbia v. Clawans • Petty offense—any misdemeanor for which the penalty would not exceed six months confinement or a fine not more than $500.
Size of Jury • Common law tradition was 12 jurors • Williams v. Florida—fewer than 12 permitted in noncapital cases • Minimum approved by U.S. Supreme Court is six jurors.
Public Trial • Guaranteed by Sixth Amendment—made applicable to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment. • One that is not secret • One that the public has a right to attend • No requirement that members of the public attend
Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia • Press under First Amendment has a right to attend a trial. • The constitutionally protected right to free discussion of governmental affairs embraces the right of access. • Judge for “good cause” may close a portion of a trial.
Gannett Co. v. DePasquale • Press and public may be excluded from pretrial hearings. • Adverse publicity prior to trial may hinder right of defendant to a fair trial. • General rule, no closed hearings without a strong showing of prejudice to the requesting party (defendant or prosecutor).
Gag Orders • Trial judge has authority to limit information that the parties and counsel may provide to the media. • Sheppard v. Maxwell • The movies and television series of the fugitive • Violation of gag order punished by contempt.