Coleman v. Alabama - 377 U.S. 129 (1964)
U.S. Supreme Court
Coleman v. Alabama, 377 U.S. 129 (1964)
Coleman v. Alabama
Argued March 25, 1964
Decided May 4, 1964
377 U.S. 129
Petitioner, a Negro convicted of murder, filed a motion for a new trial asserting for the first time deprivation of his constitutional rights through systematic exclusion of Negroes from the grand and petit juries. The trial judge permitted petitioner to proceed on his motion, but, relying upon a state requirement that objections to the composition of a jury be made before trial, sustained objections to all questions concerning the alleged jury discrimination, and denied the motion. The state Supreme Court affirmed, finding no sufficient proof of jury discrimination.
Held: The practice of systematic exclusion, if proved, would entitle petitioner to a new trial, and, since the state Supreme Court decided his constitutional claim of jury discrimination on the merits, although petitioner had not been allowed to offer evidence to support that claim, petitioner must now be given that opportunity.
276 Ala. 513, 164 So.2d 704, reversed and remanded.