MEASURE 72


ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

VOTE YES ON MEASURE 72 TO BRING BALANCE

TO THE JURY PROCESS IN MURDER CASES

This measure reflects part of what was originally passed by the voters as Measure 40 in November 1996. The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that Measure 40 contained several amendments to the Oregon Constitution, and that they needed to be voted on separately. So, the Legislature has split the original Ballot Measure 40 into sections and has referred those sections to the voters as separate measures. This is one of those measures.

The Oregon Constitution already provides that a jury can acquit or convict a person for any crime, except Murder or Aggravated Murder, by a ten to two vote. This system has worked well.

The current constitutional provision requires a unanimous jury verdict of guilty both for Aggravated Murder (where the death penalty or life imprisonment may be applied), as well as for Murder. This measure would not change the unanimous jury verdict requirement for a guilty verdict in Aggravated Murder cases. It will not change the current provision that allows a jury to acquit a defendant in Aggravated Murder and Murder cases by a ten to two vote. What this measure will change is the unanimous verdict requirement for a verdict of guilty in ordinary Murder cases. This measure will allow an eleven to one jury verdict of guilt in Murder cases.

Referral of this measure to the voters was sought by the three largest, longest established victims' organizations in Oregon (Parents of Murdered Children; Mothers Against Drunk Driving; Crime Victims United) and by Oregon law enforcement organizations (Association Chiefs of Police; District Attorneys Association; State Sheriffs Association; State Police; Federation of Parole and Probation Officers).

The voters enacted this measure as part of Measure 40. We now have a chance to enact it again. Please vote yes.

Kevin L. Mannix
State Representative

(This information furnished by Kevin L. Mannix, Justice For All.)

(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.


ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

My personal experience is illustrative of how a single rogue juror can subvert justice.

On October 21, 1992, my life was shattered forever. On that afternoon, a car drove onto the shoulder of a Lake Oswego street and struck my 12-year old daughter, Lisa, as she was walking to her grandparents' house after school. The force of the impact hurled Lisa's little body into a nearby tree. Rather than stop and call for help, the driver fled the scene. Lisa, my darling child, was already dead when a passing motorist discovered her mangled body. The only clue as to the identity of Lisa's killer was a license plate found nearby.

The police quickly traced the license plate to Andrew Whitaker. When confronted with the physical evidence, Whitaker admitted that Lisa's death was not an accident. Whitaker confessed he killed Lisa "on purpose."

What initially appeared to be and open and shut case, turned into anything but that. After a year of legal wrangling, Andrew Whitaker was finally brought to trial. During the trial, the jury heard Whitaker's confession as well as evidence that Lisa was on the shoulder of the street when struck by Whitaker's car. The jury also learned that prior to Lisa's murder, Whitaker shared with friends his fantasy of killing someone. To everyone's amazement, however, the jury did not convict Whitaker of murder! Luckily for Whitaker, 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!

I ASK YOU TO PLEASE VOTE YES ON MEASURES 69 THROUGH 75!

SHOULDN'T THE CRIME VICTIM HAVE AT LEAST AS MANY RIGHTS AS THE CRIMINAL?

(This information furnished by Steve Doell, Crime Victims United.)

(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.


ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

    Oregon is proud of being an innovative leader in America. For more than twenty years it has taken 10 out of 12 jurors to convict or acquit a defendant in a felony case (all 6 jurors must agree in less serious misdemeanors). Under current law all 12 jurors must unanimously agree to convict a defendant of murder. But in too many murder cases jurors have complained that a single "rogue" juror has prevented them from rendering a just verdict. The overwhelming majority of jurors take their oath very seriously, but occasionally someone with a hidden agenda will get themselves onto a jury deciding a murder charge.

    Measure 72 would allow 11 to 1 verdicts to convict in murder trials. It would still require unanimous 12-person verdicts for any aggravated (capital) murder case ­ in which either the death penalty or life in prison without possibility of parole is the penalty.

    Measure 72 would retain Oregon's unusual rule that allows a NOT GUILTY verdict with just a 10 to 2 vote. This change in the law recognizes that in too many murder cases juries have returned compromise verdicts of much lesser charges because a single juror refuses to follow the judge's instructions. The United States Supreme Court has ruled more than once that there is NO constitutional requirement of unanimous juries.

    One juror in Eugene recently wrote a letter in which expressed great frustration and remarked that "it is only natural to wonder about the weird susceptibility of a system that requires unanimity among a group of jurors. One couldn't help noting that the time and expense of the judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, and witnesses were all for naught when the 'each must follow the instructions of the court' rule was not followed. Perhaps there is some room for improvement..."

    A yes vote on Measure 72 would bring non-capital murder cases into line with the spirit of Oregon's existing jury system.

(This information furnished by Joshua Marquis.)

(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.


ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Since 1934 the Oregon Constitution has allowed juries to convict and to acquit people of the most serious crimes, other than murder, on a less than unanimous verdict. We as Oregonians have long understood that a fair verdict could be rendered by less than a unanimous vote.

One of the primary reasons our law requires a unanimous verdict on murder cases today is because in 1934 murder in the first degree carried the possibility of a death sentence. That is not true today. Today murder conviction will result in a 25-year minimum sentence. It is only upon a conviction of aggravated murder that a person could be eligible for the death penalty. Measure 72 would not change that law. For death penalty cases a unanimous verdict would still be required.

When juries convict people of the most serious crimes, other than murder, there are no requirements of unanimity. For the conduct in some of those cases it is not unusual that a court imposes what amounts to a true-life sentence. For instance, the case of brutal sex offenders. We see instances where these people are given a sentence of more than 100 years. The law did not require a unanimous verdict, but that person may well serve the rest of their life in jail.

It is particularly unfair to require a unanimous vote for conviction of murder when a defendant can be found not guilty by a 10-2 vote, This is the current law in Oregon.

Since 1934 Oregonians have understood that one juror, who because of prejudices or pre-conceived ideas, would never convict or acquit anyone regardless of the law or the evidence, should not stand in the way of justice. This reasoning is still true today. Let us make our laws consistent and fair.

Please Vote YES on Measure 72.

Please Vote YES on Measure 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75.

(This information furnished by Deborah Bergh, Crime Victims United.)

(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.


Arguments In Opposition

Measure 72 Text

November 2, 1999 Special Election Voters' Pamphlet Table of Contents