Woman Accused of Killing Puppy Gets Six-Person Jury

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URBANA--A trial by jury is a constitutional right. But in Champaign County, that doesn't mean there must be 12 jurors in the box. 

"Under the law it's the defendant's right to ask for a jury of six," said public defender, Randy Rosenbaum. 

After lawmakers passed a law increasing juror pay, Rosenbaum began looking for ways to save money. He spotted a system at work in DuPage County that allows juries of six at the defendant's request.

"They've been using it for five or six years with quite a bit of success for the defense," said Rosenbaum. "And so a couple of weeks ago I presented it to our presiding judge, Tom Difanis, and he seemed to be supportive of experimenting with the idea."

Kinny Redmon will be the first defendant to experiment with six jurors.

She waived her right to a 12-person jury this week, as she faces charges of aggravated cruelty to animals and animal torture.

Redmon allegedly killed her ex-boyfriend's puppy by stuffing it into oven and turning on the heat.

"The initial thought was to try it first with lower level offenses just to try and get our bearings straight on how we deal with the issues," said Rosenbaum.     

Prosecutors don't have a say in the jury size.

In a statement, Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz said, "We do not see the 6 person jury as a problem because we have the same number of opportunities to strike potential jurors as we do with 12 person juries. We will try our case the same whether the finder of fact is one person or 6 or 12."

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