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Patton v. United States

Significance, Trial By Jury And The Constitution


John Patton, Harold Conant, Jack Butler


United States

Appellants' Claim

That defendants in a federal criminal trial cannot waive their right to a trial by jury composed of fewer than 12 jurors.

Chief Lawyer for Appellants

Claude Nowlin

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Charles E. Hughes, U.S. Solicitor General

Justices for the Court

Louis D. Brandeis, Pierce Butler, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Clark McReynolds, Harlan Fiske Stone, Edward Terry Sanford, George Sutherland (writing for the Court), Willis Van Devanter

Justices Dissenting

None (William Howard Taft did not participate)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

14 April 1930


The Court affirmed a defendant's right to waive a trial by jury in federal criminal cases, but required the presiding judge and government attorneys to agree to the waiver as well.

Related Cases

  • In re Debs, 158 U.S. 564 (1895).
  • Schick v. United States, 195 U.S. 65 (1919).

Further Readings

  • Hall, Kermit L, ed. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford Press, 1992.
  • Witt, Elder, ed. The Supreme Court and Individual Rights. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1979.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940