The Champion

December 2010 , Page 49 

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A Methodology for Determining When Specific Juror Unanimity Is Required

By Thomas Lundy

Jury unanimity is a constitutionally based concept — a defendant is entitled to a verdict in which all 12 jurors concur, beyond a reasonable doubt, as to each count charged. “Duplicity,” another term used to describe this doctrine, is the joining in a single count of two or more distinct and separate offenses. For example, there is a duplicity issue when a jury returns a general verdict of guilt without specifying whether the defendant was convicted of the form of battery with which he was charged rather than the form with which he was not charged.

When is an instruction on specific unanimity necessary? The simple answer is that specific unanimity comes into play if the prosecutor could have separately charged the defendant for alternative acts alleged in support of a single count.1 However, it is not always easy to determine if separate offenses could have been charged for alternative acts. This article proposes a multi-step methodology for making that det

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