Timelines
Right to Trial by an Impartial Jury

  • 1791
    Sixth Amendment Is Ratified

  • 1880
    Race Bias In Jury Selection Ruled Unconstitutional

  • 1898
    Court Decides Jury Must Have 12 People

  • 1930
    Court Holds Right To Jury Trial Depends On Crime
    Court: Defendant Can Waive Right To Jury Trial

  • 1948
    Justices Say Jury Verdict Must Be Unanimous

  • 1954
    Jury Exclusion Of Certain Ethnic Groups Ruled Unconstitutional

  • 1956
    Court: 'Impartial' Means No Outside Pressure On Jurors

  • 1961
    Court: Excessive Publicity Can Violate Right To Impartial Jury

  • 1965
    Court Defines Proof Of Race-Based Juror Exclusion

  • 1968
    Court: Right To Impartial Jury Applies To State Trials
    'Risk Of Death' Can't Be Price Of Right To Jury Trial
    Court: Death Penalty Doubts Can't Disqualify Potential Juror

  • 1970
    Six-Month Sentence Triggers Right To A Jury Trial
    Requirement Of 12-Member Jury Is Relaxed

  • 1971
    Justices Rule Jury Trials Not Required In Juvenile Court
    Same Jury Can Decide Guilt, Punishment In Death Penalty Cases

  • 1972
    Justices Relax Requirement On Unanimous Verdicts

  • 1973
    In Certain Cases, Potential Jurors Must Be Questioned On Racial Bias

  • 1975
    Juries Must Be Drawn From Fair Cross Section Of Community

  • 1979
    Court Defines Underrepresentation In Jury Pool

  • 1986
    Peremptory Challenges Based On Race Barred
    Death Penalty Foes Can Be Excluded From Juries

  • 1990
    Court: Fair Cross Section Does Not Apply To Juries

  • 1991
    Race-Based Peremptory Challenges In Civil Cases Rejected

  • 1992
    Restrictions On Challenges Apply To Defense Lawyers, Too

  • 1994
    Exclusion Of Jurors Based On Sex Unconstitutional

  • 2000
    Ruling On Sentencing Opens Door To Challenges

  • 2004
    Court Decision Raises Doubts On Sentencing Guidelines

  • 2005
    Justices Invalidate Federal Sentencing Guidelines

  • 2007
    Calif. Sentencing Guidelines Held Unconstitutional
    Court Returns Sentencing Power To Judges