WILLIAMS v. FLORIDA

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
927
Petitioner 
Williams
Respondent 
Florida
Opinion 
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

In 1967, the state of Florida passed legislation to allow six-member juries in criminal cases. Johnny Williams was tried and convicted for robbery by such a jury. Williams, lost in a Florida appellate court; he appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Question 

Did a trial by jury of less than 12 persons violate the Sixth Amendment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 6 votes for Florida, 2 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Self-Incrimination

The Court held that "the 12-man [jury] requirement cannot be regarded as an indispensable component of the Sixth Amendment." The Court found that the purpose of the jury trial was "to prevent oppression by the Government," and that the performance of this role was not dependent on the particular number of people on the jury. The Court concluded that "the fact that the jury at common law was composed of precisely 12 is a historical accident, unnecessary to effect the purposes of the jury system and wholly without significance 'except to mystics.'"

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WILLIAMS v. FLORIDA. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 11 September 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1969/1969_927/>.
WILLIAMS v. FLORIDA, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1969/1969_927/ (last visited September 11, 2014).
"WILLIAMS v. FLORIDA," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 11, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1969/1969_927/.