In re Interest of M.G.N.

A trial court may substitute a regular juror with an alternate if the regular juror is unable to fulfill or is disqualified from fulfilling his duties. A trial court may only dismiss a juror and proceed with fewer than twelve jurors if the dismissed juror is constitutionally disabled. In this child custody dispute, the trial court empaneled twelve jurors and retained one alternate. The trial court subsequently substituted the alternate juror for a regular juror whom it found to be disqualified. During the trial, the trial court found that one of the jurors had become disabled and proceeded with eleven jurors. The eleven-member jury returned a unanimous verdict. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that dismissal of the disqualified juror resulted in an eleven-member jury in violation of the constitutional right to a jury trial. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals failed to property examine the two dismissals under their appropriate standards. Remanded. View "In re Interest of M.G.N." on Justia Law