Kakos Decision Announced

October 4, 2016

In Kakos v. Butler, 2016 IL 120377, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously held that Public Act 98-1132 (eff. June 1, 2015), which limited the size of a civil jury to 6 person and increased juror pay, infringed on the right to trial by jury. Article I, § 13 of the Bill of Rights to the 1970 Constitution of the State of Illinois, states that “[t]he right of trial by jury as heretofore enjoyed shall remain inviolate.” The court held that a jury of twelve was what was “heretofore enjoyed” as existed at common law and under earlier constitutions and what the framers of the 1970 Illinois constitution intended should remain “inviolate.” The floor debates during the 1970 Constitutional Convention showed that the framers specifically considered and rejected an amendment that would have allowed the General Assembly to reduce the size of civil juries. The amendment violated article I, § 13 because it took away the right to a jury of twelve. Having determined that the amendment was facially unconstitutional based on the right of trial by jury, the court did not need to consider whether the amendment also constituted a violation of separation of powers. Finally, the court held that the entire Act was invalid as the provision regarding juror pay was not severable from the provision which limited the size of jurors.
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