JOHNSON v. LOUISIANA

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
69-5035
Appellee 
Louisiana
Appellant 
Johnson
Advocates
(Reargued the cause for the appellant)
(Reargued the cause for the appellee)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

The Louisiana State Constitution and Code of Criminal Procedure allowed less- than-unanimous juries to convict defendants in criminal cases in which hard labor is considered as punishment. Nine of twelve jury members were needed to return a guilty verdict. Johnson was convicted of armed robbery by a jury split nine to three.

Question 

Do less-than-unanimous jury verdicts in certain cases violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Louisiana, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Right to Trial By Jury

The Court held that less-than-unanimous convictions did not violate the reasonable doubt standard embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause. Justice White argued that a minority opposing conviction does not prevent the other jurors from reaching their decisions beyond a reasonable doubt. Furthermore, the presence of dissenting jurors does not indicate that the state failed to uphold this standard. Finally, allowing less-than- unanimous decisions in certain cases serves a rational state purpose, not offensive to the Constitution.

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JOHNSON v. LOUISIANA. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 31 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1970/1970_69_5035>.
JOHNSON v. LOUISIANA, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1970/1970_69_5035 (last visited October 31, 2014).
"JOHNSON v. LOUISIANA," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 31, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1970/1970_69_5035.