The Supreme Court authorized a reduction in the size of juries from twelve to six.
Defendant Williams was convicted of a felony by a six-member jury because Florida allowed six-person juries for all criminal cases except capital murder. Williams argued that the smaller jury denied him of his Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury. The Supreme Court held, seven to one, that six people were enough to have on either a civil or a criminal jury (absent a state constitution or law mandating twelve jurors) on the state or federal level. The Court’s decision has been widely criticized for offering no evidence for its conclusion that six-member juries are adequate, but the Court later reaffirmed its decision and six-member juries are now commonplace.
Due process, procedural
Jury, trial by
Jury composition and size