Morgan v. Illinois, 504 U.S. 719, 9 (1992)

Page:   Index   Previous  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  Next

Cite as: 504 U. S. 719 (1992)

Opinion of the Court

every State has constitutionally provided trial by jury. See Columbia University Legislative Drafting Research Fund, Index Digest of State Constitutions, 578-579 (1959). In essence, the right to jury trial guarantees to the criminally accused a fair trial by a panel of impartial, 'indifferent' jurors. The failure to accord an accused a fair hearing violates even the minimal standards of due process. In re Oliver, 333 U. S. 257 [(1948)]; Tumey v. Ohio, 273 U. S. 510 [(1927)]. 'A fair trial in a fair tribunal is a basic requirement of due process.' In re Murchison, 349 U. S. 133, 136 [(1955)]. In the ultimate analysis, only the jury can strip a man of his liberty or his life. In the language of Lord Coke, a juror must be as 'indifferent as he stands unsworne.' Co. Litt. 155b. His verdict must be based upon the evidence developed at the trial. Cf. Thompson v. City of Louisville, 362 U. S. 199 [(1960)]. This is true, regardless of the heinousness of the crime charged, the apparent guilt of the offender or the station in life which he occupies. It was so written into our law as early as 1807 by Chief Justice Marshall in 1 Burr's Trial 416 (1807). 'The theory of the law is that a juror who has formed an opinion cannot be impartial.' Reynolds v. United States, 98 U. S. 145, 155 [(1879)]." Irvin v. Dowd, supra, at 721-722 (footnote omitted).

In Turner v. Louisiana, we relied on this passage to delineate "the nature of the jury trial which the Fourteenth Amendment commands when trial by jury is what the State has purported to accord." 379 U. S., at 471. In short, as reflected in the passage above, due process alone has long demanded that, if a jury is to be provided the defendant, regardless of whether the Sixth Amendment requires it, the jury must stand impartial and indifferent to the extent commanded by the Sixth Amendment. Id., at 472, and n. 10; cf. Groppi v. Wisconsin, 400 U. S. 505, 508-511 (1971).


Page:   Index   Previous  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007