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HOUSE BILL NO.
INTRODUCED BY ______________________
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT PROVIDING THAT IF A DEFENDANT IN A
CRIMINAL PROCEEDING OR IN A CIVIL PROCEEDING IN WHICH A STATE OR LOCAL
GOVERNMENT OR ONE OF ITS AGENCIES IS AN OPPOSING PARTY HAS THE RIGHT TO
A JURY TRIAL, THE RIGHT INCLUDES THE RIGHT TO INFORM THE JURORS OF
THEIR POWER TO JUDGE THE LAW, AS WELL AS THE FACTS, AND TO VOTE
ACCORDING TO THEIR CONSCIENCE; AND AMENDING SECTIONS 25-7-102,
26-1-201, AND 46-16-103, MCA."
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
1. Right to inform jury it may judge law.
(1) If a defendant in a criminal proceeding or in a civil
proceeding in which a state or local government or one of its agencies
is an opposing party has the right to a jury trial, the right includes
the right to inform the jurors of their power to judge the law, as well
as the facts, and to vote according to their conscience. If the
right to inform is denied, a party with the right is entitled to a
mistrial. The right may not be infringed by a jury selection
method that could limit or preclude the empanelment of a juror willing
to exercise the power or by any statute, juror oath, court order, or
court practice or procedure.
(2) A party may present to the jury arguments
pertaining to law and conscience issues, including:
(a) the merit, intent, constitutionality, or
applicability of the law relating to the proceeding;
(b) the motives, moral perspective, and
circumstances of a party with the right granted by this section;
(c) the degree and direction of guilt or actual harm
(d) sanctions that may be applied to a party with
the right granted by this section.
2. Section 25-7-102, MCA, is amended to read:
"25-7-102. Issues of law to be decided
by court. Except as provided in Article II, section 7, of the Montana
constitution and [section 1], all questions of law, including the
admissibility of testimony, the facts preliminary to such admission,
the construction of statutes and other writings, and other rules of
evidence, are to be decided by the court unless they are referred upon
consent, and all discussions of law are to be addressed to the court."
3. Section 26-1-201, MCA, is amended to read:
"26-1-201. Questions of law. Except as
provided in Article II, section 7, of the Montana constitution and
[section 1], all questions of law, including the admissibility of
testimony, the facts preliminary to such admission, the construction of
statutes and other writings, and other rules of evidence, must be
decided by the court."
4. Section 46-16-103, MCA, is amended to read:
"46-16-103. Who decides questions of law and
fact. (1) All prosecutions deciding issues of fact must be tried by the
court and jury, except on a plea of guilty.
(2) Questions Except as provided in [section
1], questions of law must be decided by the court and questions of fact
by the jury, except that on a trial for criminal defamation, the jury
shall determine both questions of law and of fact. Questions of law and
fact must be decided by the court when a trial by jury is waived under
5. Codification instruction. [Section 1]
is intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 25, chapter 7,
part 1, and the provisions of Title 25, chapter 7, part 1, apply to