Composition and number of members in a jury, a group of citizens brought together to hear testimony and determine a verdict in a trial.
The right to trial by jury
A common method of jury selection before 1968 was the “key man” system, relying on prominent citizens in the community to serve. This meant many citizens were excluded from jury duty, despite being legally eligible. As early as 1880 in Strauder v. West Virginia
In 1968 Congress enacted the Jury Selection and Service Act
However, the new focus on inclusiveness raised new jury selection and composition questions for the Court, leading it to revise its earlier position in Swain on the use of peremptory challenges. In a series of cases, the Court ruled that peremptories cannot be used to exclude potential jurors solely on the basis of race (Batson v. Kentucky, 1986) or gender (J. E. B. v. Alabama ex rel. T. B., 1994). In Holland v. Illinois
The Court noted that the use of twelve-person juries and the unanimous decision rule are simply historical customs rather than legal requirements. Nonetheless, it supported the tradition of jury unanimity until 1972, when it allowed majority verdicts in state criminal trials (Apodaca v. Oregon; Johnson v. Louisiana). States can also use majority decision rules in civil cases; however, federal criminal and civil cases retain a unanimity requirement.
In Williams v. Florida
Abramson, Jeffrey. We, the Jury. New York: Basic Books, 1994. Fukurai, Hiroshi, E. Butler, and R. Krooth. Race and the Jury. New York: Plenum, 1993. Hans, Valerie, and Neil Vidmar. Judging the Jury. New York: Plenum, 1987.
Ballew v. Georgia
Batson v. Kentucky
Jury, trial by
Strauder v. West Virginia
Taylor v. Louisiana
Williams v. Florida