Ballard v. United States
329 U.S. 187 (1946)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Ballard v. United States, 329 U.S. 187 (1946)

Ballard v. United States

No. 37

Argued October 15, 1946

Decided December 9, 1946

329 U.S. 187

Syllabus

1. In a State where women are eligible for jury service under local law, a federal jury panel from which women are intentionally and systematically excluded is not properly constituted, and this Court will exercise its power of supervision over the administration of justice in the federal courts to correct the error. Thiel v. Southern Pacific Co.,328 U. S. 217. Pp. 329 U. S. 190-196.

(a) Sections 275-278 of the Judicial Code reflect a design to make the jury a cross-section of the community and truly representative of it. P. 329 U. S. 191.

(b) The system of jury selection which Congress has adopted contemplates that juries in federal courts sitting in States where women are eligible for jury service under local law will be representative of both sexes. P. 329 U. S. 191.

(c) The systematic and intentional exclusion of women, like the exclusion of a racial group or an economic or social class, deprives the jury system of the broad base it was designed by Congress to have. P. 329 U. S. 195.

2. When a jury in a criminal case is drawn from a panel not properly constituted, reversible error does not depend on a showing of prejudice in an individual case; since the injury is not limited to the defendant, but extends to the jury system, to the law as an institution, to the community at large, and to the democratic ideal reflected in the processes of our courts. P. 329 U. S. 195.

3. When this Court finds that a petit jury was drawn from an improper panel, it will remand the case for a new trial; but when it finds that the grand jury which returned an indictment was drawn from such a panel, the indictment must be dismissed. Pp. 329 U. S. 195-196.

4. An issue properly raised on the record by defendants in a criminal case in a Federal District Court and assigned as error on appeal was not passed on by the Circuit Court of Appeals in reversing the

Page 329 U. S. 188

conviction. On petition of the Government which did not raise that issue, this Court granted certiorari, reversed the judgment of the Circuit Court of Appeals, and remanded the case to that Court, which then passed on the issue adversely to defendants and affirmed the conviction. Defendants then petitioned for certiorari, which was granted.

Held, defendants have not lost the right to urge that question here. P. 329 U. S. 190.

152 F.2d reversed.

Petitioners were indicted and convicted in a District Court for using, and conspiring to use, the mails to defraud, The Circuit Court of Appeals reversed on the ground that the trial judge erred in withholding from the jury all questions concerning the truth or falsity of their religious beliefs or doctrines. 138 F.2d 540. On petition of the Government, this Court granted certiorari, 320 U.S. 733, reversed the decision of the Circuit Court of Appeals, and remanded the case to that Court for further proceedings. 322 U. S. 78. The Circuit Court of Appeals then affirmed the conviction. 152 F.2d 941. On petition of defendants, this Court granted certiorari to review questions reserved in its previous decision. 326 U.S. 773. Reversed, p. 329 U. S. 196.

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