The Supreme Court Relaxes The Requirement Of A Twelve-Member Jury

1970

Although it is not specified in the Constitution, the Supreme Court in Thompson v. Utah (1898) rules that, just as in England, a jury must have twelve people when trying someone charged with a serious crime. However in Williams v. Florida (1970), the Supreme Court calls a twelve-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.