Requirement Of 12-Member Jury Eased

1970

Although it is not specified in the Constitution, the Supreme Court in Thompson v. Utah ruled in 1898 that, just as in England, a jury must have 12 people when trying someone charged with a serious crime. However, in Williams v. Florida, the Supreme Court calls a 12-member jury a “historical accident” and decides that what matters is if the jury’s size will allow it to reach a fair decision. The court finds that it makes sense to determine the jury’s size by the seriousness of the crime.