SCOTUS rejects review of Florida case challenging 6-person juries

Group Photograph Of U.S. Supreme Court Justices
'Florida does what the Constitution forbids because of us.'

The U.S. Supreme Court won’t take up the case of a Florida woman sentenced to eight years in prison by a jury of six people.

Justice Neil Gorsuch dissented from the decision and chided the rest of the court for not considering the case.

“Florida does what the Constitution forbids because of us,” Gorsuch wrote.

Most criminal trials require a 12-person jury. But in Florida and five other states (Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts and Utah), a six-person jury can be used. In Florida, all non-death penalty criminal trials use six-person juries.

In a brief opposing the motion to take up the case, Attorney General Ashley Moody noted there were more than 5,000 cases in Florida pending appeal over the issue of the size of the jury.

The case involves Natoya Cunningham, who was charged with aggravated battery and retaliation against a witness or informant and sentenced to 8 years in prison in 2022. Cunningham was accused of going to the home of a confidential informant after her cousin’s arrest for selling cocaine. She didn’t leave after being told to, and proceeded to stab the informant in the arm.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld six-person juries in a 1970 ruling, Williams v. Florida, which determined that a 12-person jury wasn’t required by the U.S. Constitution, overturning prior precedent.

Gorsuch criticized that ruling, claiming it was based on “bad social science.”

“Really, given the history of the jury trial right before Williams, it was nearly ‘unthinkable to suggest that the Sixth Amendment’s right to a trial by jury is satisfied’ by any lesser number,” Gorsuch wrote. “Yet Williams made the unthinkable a reality.”

Moody, though, argued Florida should be able to continue the six-person jury practice, which it has used since 1877.

“For nearly as long as states have had a Sixth Amendment duty to provide criminal jury trials, this Court’s message to the people of Florida has been clear: the jury structure that they have settled on for a century and a half fulfills that duty,” Moody’s brief states. “Unsurprisingly then, Florida has continued its longstanding practice of using six-person juries in trials of noncapital offenses.”

Gorsuch urged Florida voters to step in where he believes the high court fell short and change the law.

“Nothing prevents the people of Florida and other affected States from revising their jury practices to ensure no government in this country may send a person to prison without the unanimous assent of 12 of his peers,” Gorsuch wrote. “If we will not presently shoulder the burden of correcting our own mistake, they have the power to do so. For, no less than this Court, the American people serve as guardians of our enduring Constitution.”

Gray Rohrer


  • Richard Paula

    May 28, 2024 at 11:42 am

    If it were up to AG Asleep Moody jury of three would suffice and only two votes to convict would be necessary. Of course she would be backed up by our most merciful Governor who believes 8 out of 12 votes on the penalty phase of a capital case is sufficient to sustain a death penalty sentence.

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 28, 2024 at 1:18 pm

      The rest of us will look forward, beyond the inevitable decline of MAGAland due to its own internal strife, to the day Assley and Rhonda are judged, according to their own rules, by decent law abiding U.S. Americans. Not MAGA sickos.

  • Richard Paula

    May 28, 2024 at 11:43 am

    That’s Ashley not Asleep. Auto-correct error

    • Silly Wabbit

      May 28, 2024 at 11:48 am

      She asleep.

  • Elvis Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

    May 28, 2024 at 2:16 pm

    Good afternoon America,
    The Sage Supremes all got on a conferance call a few days back with me, Elvis Pitts American, begging for me to share some of my Sage Jurisprudance wilh them and guide them to the appropriate decision which would be best for America.
    They were all very professional, respectfull, and most of all greatfull that a man of my Jurisprudance Wisdom would jelp them oit. Well all except Gorsuch who was always mumbeling something unintellagable in the background.
    Honestly I got the feeling that Gorsuch may have had a 3 martini lunch or maybe dident get any poon the night before.
    Honestly I was not supprised Gorsuch voted against America’s best interests and suspect Gorsuch may have turned into a doof Lefty.
    Thank you Americs,

  • Balls

    May 28, 2024 at 3:48 pm

    Rhonda and Assley seem pretty obsessed with the number six.

    Six weeks
    Six people on the jury
    Six letter in Rhonda; Also six in Assley

    What does that spell for Florida? Evil! Impolite and Evil!

  • 🌞

    May 28, 2024 at 4:14 pm

    Yes Florida,,the only place your stalker baker acts you.
    Gotta love it.

  • LexT

    May 29, 2024 at 9:48 am

    While I think I would prefer the larger jury size, I agree that Florida has done this historically for years and it should be a Florida decision whether to increase the size of its non-death penalty juries.

Comments are closed.


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