392 U.S. 631 (1968), 559, DeStefano v. Woods

Docket Nº:No. 559
Citation:392 U.S. 631, 88 S.Ct. 2093, 20 L.Ed.2d 1308
Party Name:DeStefano v. Woods
Case Date:June 17, 1968
Court:United States Supreme Court

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392 U.S. 631 (1968)

88 S.Ct. 2093, 20 L.Ed.2d 1308

DeStefano

v.

Woods

No. 559

United States Supreme Court

June 17, 1968

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES

COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

In post-conviction proceedings, petitioners unsuccessfully challenged the constitutional validity of their convictions in the state courts -- petitioner in No. 941 contending that it was unconstitutional for the trial court to have instructed the jury (under a state constitutional provision applicable to noncapital cases) that it could return a guilty verdict by less than a unanimous vote, and petitioner in No. 559 contending that he was unconstitutionally denied a trial by jury when he was tried by a state court for criminal contempt, adjudged guilty, and sentenced to three concurrent one-year terms.

Held: This Court's decisions of May 20, 1968, in Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145, holding that the States cannot deny a request for jury trial in serious criminal cases, and Bloom v. Illinois, 391 U.S. 194, holding that the right to jury trial extends to trials for serious criminal contempts, do not apply retroactively, and, since petitioners' trials were instituted before that date, the Court does not reach the issues presented by petitioners.

Certiorari granted; No. 559, 382 F.2d 557, and No. 941, affirmed.

Per curiam opinion.

PER CURIAM.

Petitioner Carcerano was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced, on May 11, 1962, to life imprisonment. The Oregon Constitution, Art. I, § 11, permits a jury

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to convict in noncapital cases if 10 of the 12 jurors support conviction. The Oregon Supreme Court affirmed petitioner's conviction. 238 Ore. 208, 39 P.2d 923, cert. denied, 380 U.S. 923. In 1967, petitioner sought collateral relief under Oregon's post-conviction statute. The sole ground relied upon was that the State and Federal Constitutions were violated when the jury was told it could return a verdict of guilty even though the members did not unanimously favor that verdict. This issue had not been raised by petitioner on his direct appeal. The Oregon Supreme Court denied relief.

Petitioner DeStefano was found in criminal contempt of an Illinois court and sentenced to three concurrent one-year terms.1 After affirmance by the Illinois Supreme Court and denial of certiorari by this Court, 385 U.S. 989, petitioner unsuccessfully sought state collateral relief and then filed a petition for habeas [88 S.Ct. 2095] corpus in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Petitioner's contention was that he was unconstitutionally denied trial by jury. Both the District Court and the Court of Appeals held that the Constitution did not require jury trial for state criminal contempt proceedings.

In Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145, we held that the States cannot deny a request for jury trial in serious criminal cases, and in Bloom v. Illinois, 391 U.S. 194, that the right to jury trial extends to trials for serious criminal contempts. Duncan left open the question of

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the continued vitality of the statement in Maxwell v. Dow, 176 U.S. 581, 586, that the Sixth Amendment right to jury trial includes a right not to be convicted except by a unanimous verdict. Both Duncan and Bloom left open the question whether a contempt punished by imprisonment for one year is, by virtue of that sentence, a sufficiently serious matter to require that a request for jury trial be honored. These two issues posed in Nos. 941 and 559 must be considered at this time only if the decisions in Duncan and Bloom apply retroactively. We hold, however, that Duncan v. Louisiana and Bloom v. Illinois should receive only prospective application. Accordingly, the denials of collateral relief to petitioners must be affirmed regardless of whether, for cases to which the rules announced in Duncan and Bloom apply, the Fourteenth Amendment requires unanimous jury verdicts and affords a right to jury trial for criminal...

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