Other Free Encyclopedias » Law Library - American Law and Legal Information » Crime and Criminal Law » Jury: Legal Aspects - Origins, The Scope Of The Right, Jury Size, Unanimity, Vicinage, Selecting Jurors

Jury: Legal Aspects - Jury Size

juries court person six

Although the Supreme Court previously said that the Sixth Amendment required juries of twelve, the Court in 1970 declared this traditional number a "historical accident, wholly without significance except to mystics." It concluded in Williams v. Florida, 399 U.S. 78 (1970), that the Constitution allowed juries of six. In support of its claim that there was "no discernable difference between the results reached by the two different-sized juries," the Court cited studies that seemed to most observers to establish just the opposite. The Court declared that a jury of six was "large enough to promote group deliberation, free from outside attempts at intimidation, and to provide a fair possibility of obtaining a representative cross section of the community."

One critic of Williams titled his paper "And Then There Were None" (Zeisel). Nevertheless, in Ballew v. Georgia, 435 U.S. 223 (1978), a unanimous Court held five-person juries impermissible. A great many states now use six-person juries, especially in misdemeanor prosecutions. Only seven states expressly require twelve-person juries in all cases, but other states permit departures from this historic number only with the defendant's consent. (Miller).

Jury: Legal Aspects - Unanimity [next] [back] Jury: Legal Aspects - The Scope Of The Right

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or