M E M O
TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Gerhard Raedeke
RE: Predeliberation Discussion
In 1995, as part of its reform to activate and empower the jury, Arizona adopted a rule allowing jurors to discuss the evidence during recess in the jury room when all the jurors are present. See Ariz.R.Civ.P. 39(f).
At two meetings, the Committee has considered whether to recommend adoption of a similar rule allowing predeliberation discussion. At the first meeting, a motion carried to amend N.D.R.Civ.P. 51 to allow predeliberation discussion. The motion carried by a vote of 10 to 7. Because the motion did not carry by a two-thirds vote, the proposal remained for further Committee consideration. See Minutes of the Joint Procedure Comm. 9 (April 30-May 1, 1998).
A the last meeting, the Committee considered the proposal again and two studies on the Arizona experience from the National Central for State Courts. The Committee decided predeliberation discussion would be more appropriately addressed in a North Dakota Rule of Court as Rule 51 pertains to instructions. The Committee thought the jury should be advised regarding predeliberation discussion through an admonishment. Currently, N.D.C.C. § 28-14-16 provides for an admonishment rather than an instruction. The Committee also thought the statute should be incorporated into the rule and superseded. A motion carried to refer the proposal back to staff. See Minutes of the Joint Procedure Comm. 4-7 (January 28-29, 1999).
Should North Dakota adopt a rule of court allowing predeliberation discussion in civil cases?