Criminal Law/Jury Size


I have an idea for a movie but want to keep the cast size down. Is it possible for a jury (in the United States) to consist of 6 jurors for a felony trial? If so, where, how common is it and under what circumstances could it occur?


The Supreme Court has held under the Sixth Amendment that juries in criminal cases are not required to be the traditional size of twelve persons (although they cannot consist of less than six persons).  Nonetheless, all federal criminal cases use a twelve-person jury (with 4-alternates), and only a handful of states allow juries of less than twelve for felony trials, although as to misdemeanor cases states are about evenly split between those that require twelve-person juries and those that provide for smaller juries (typically six persons).  

The Supreme Court has also held that a guilty verdict from a twelve-person jury need not be unanimous (nine votes is constitutionally permissible), although if the jury consists of only six persons, unanimity is required.  Nonetheless, federal statutes require a unanimous verdict in both felony and misdemeanor federal cases.  All states except Louisiana and Oregon require unanimous verdicts in felony cases, while only Oregon permits a non-unanimous verdict in misdemeanor cases.

Hope this helps.

The MPM Group, Inc.  

Criminal Law

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Kevin M. Tamez


Kevin M. Tamez serves as one of the most senior and experienced consultants at The MPM Group, Inc. During more than 27 years of both state and federal law enforcement experience, Mr. Tamez held supervisory roles with state law enforcement as well as senior management positions with the U.S. Department of Justice - serving in both domestic as well as foreign posts. In addition to his extensive foreign operational experience, Mr. Tamez is a court adjudicated expert in most Title 18 and Title 21 complex criminal, undercover, and electronic (Title III) intercept investigations. As a senior manager, he is also an authority in most government administrative matters to include Human Resource and Workers’ Compensation issues. Mr. Tamez has broadened his already considerable expertise by authoring various legal reference and inmate advocacy manuals. Mr. Tamez is frequently sought after for his expertise in counseling and preparing convicted law enforcement personnel, politicians, and other “celebrities” for reporting to a federal penal facility.


More than 27-years of both state and federal law enforcement. Uniform patrol, Tactical Operations, SWAT, Detective Bureau (Narcotics), and Uniform Supervision. U.S. Federal Agent (Series-1811), all facets of complex domestic investigations, Special Operations, Paramilitary operations overseas, senior management, strategic planning, etc.

Mr. Tamez has authored several formal "Position Papers" as well as several legal reference manuals to include “The Pre-Release/Post-Release Process for Federal Inmates," “Medical Issues for Federal Inmates,” and “The Administrative Remedy Process for Federal Inmates,” thereby establishing himself as one of this industry’s foremost authorities in BOP procedural and administrative matters as well. In addition to his recent legal reference manuals and other professional publications, Mr. Tamez recently authored the critically acclaimed “The BOP’s Failure to Properly Implement the 2nd Chance Act of 2007” as well as the educational website

Mr. Tamez holds a Bachelor's of Arts Degree and has done graduate work at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Mr. Tamez is a graduate of the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy and both the Basic & Advanced Special Agent courses in Quantico Virginia.

Past/Present Clients
Protected by Privacy Agreements

©2016 All rights reserved.