Frazier v. United States
335 U.S. 497 (1948)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Frazier v. United States, 335 U.S. 497 (1948)

Frazier v. United States

No. 44

Argued October 15, 1948

Decided December 20, 1948

335 U.S. 497

Syllabus

1. Petitioner was convicted in a federal court in the District of Columbia for violating the Harrison Narcotics Act. In the circumstances of this case, he was not denied the trial "by an impartial jury" guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment, although the jury was composed entirely of employees of the Federal Government and one of them and the wife of another were employees of the Treasury Department, but not of its Bureau of Narcotics, which administers and enforces the federal narcotics statutes. Pp. 335 U. S. 498-514.

2. A motion to strike the entire panel for alleged irregularities in the method of its selection, which was not made until after an entire morning had been consumed in uncompleted efforts to select a jury and which was supported solely by counsel's unsworn statements, without any proof or offer of proof, was without merit. Pp. 335 U. S. 503-504.

3. Given 10 arbitrary choices among 22 prospective jurors not disqualified for cause, of whom 13 were government employees and 9 privately engaged, petitioner knowingly rejected by peremptory challenges all 9 of the latter and accepted without challenge all but one of the former.

Held: his objection to the resulting jury on the ground that it consisted entirely of government employees was not justified. Pp. 335 U. S. 504-512.

4. In view of the D.C.Code (1940) § 11-1420, which removed (with specified exceptions) the previously existing disqualification of government employees for jury service in the District of Columbia in criminal and other cases to which the Government is a party, the mere fact of government employment is insufficient to disqualify a juror who is otherwise qualified. United States v. Wood,299 U. S. 123. Pp. 335 U. S. 508-512.

5. Where petitioner knew that the wife of one juror was employed by the Treasury and knew that another juror was a government employee, but failed to inquire as to the exact nature of the latter's employment and failed to challenge either juror while the jury

Page 335 U. S. 498

was being selected, petitioner's challenge to these two jurors in a motion for a new trial was rightly overruled. Pp. 335 U. S. 512-514.

82 U.S.App.D.C. 332, 163 F.2d 817, affirmed.

Petitioner was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia of violating the Harrison Narcotics Act, 26 U.S.C. § 2553. The jury was composed entirely of employees of the Federal Government, and one of them and the wife of another were employees of the Treasury Department, but not of its Bureau of Narcotics, which administers and enforces the federal narcotics statutes. The Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction. 82 U.S.App.D.C. 332, 163 F.2d 817. This Court granted certiorari. 333 U.S. 873. Affirmed, p. 335 U. S. 514.

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