Women Can Be Excepted From Jury Duty

1961

In 1961, women are eligible to serve on juries in all but three states. Florida is one of seventeen states that exempt women from jury duty unless they voluntarily register to be called. After an all-male jury convicts a Florida woman of murdering her husband when she discovered his infidelity, the woman argues that the jury’s verdict might have been different if the jury had included women, who were more likely to be sympathetic with her. She notes that in 1957, when the trial took place, only 220 women had registered for jury duty, out of 46,000 registered women voters in the county. In Hoyt v. Florida (1961) the Supreme Court rules that the Florida statute is based on a reasonable assumption that women are “still regarded as the center and home of family life,” and so can be excused from mandatory civic duties.