Apodaca v. Oregon 8212 5046, No. 69

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtMr. Justice WHITE, joined by THE CHIEF JUSTICE, Mr; POWELL; Mr. Justice WHITE announced the judgment of the Court in an opinion in which THE CHIEF JUSTICE; STEWART
Citation406 U.S. 404,92 S.Ct. 1628,32 L.Ed.2d 184
Docket NumberNo. 69
Decision Date01 March 1971
PartiesRobert APODACA et al., Petitioners, v. OREGON. —5046

406 U.S. 404
92 S.Ct. 1628
32 L.Ed.2d 184
Robert APODACA et al., Petitioners,

v.

OREGON.

No. 69—5046.
Argued March 1, 1971.
Reargued Jan. 10, 1972.
Decided May 22, 1972.

Syllabus

Petitioners, who were found guilty of committing felonies, by less-than-unanimous jury verdicts, which are permitted under Oregon law in noncapital cases, claim that their convictions, upheld on appeal, contravene their right to trial by jury under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments. Held: The judgment is affirmed. Pp. 410—414, 369—380.

1 Or.App. 483, 462 P.2d 691, affirmed. affirmed.

Mr. Justice WHITE, joined by THE CHIEF JUSTICE, Mr, Justice BLACKMUN and Mr. Justice REHNQUIST, concluded that:

1. The Sixth Amendment guarantee of a jury trial, made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth (Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145, 88 .s.Ct. 1444, 20 L.Ed.2d 491), does not require that the jury's vote be unanimous. Pp. 410—412.

(a) The Amendment's essential purpose of 'interpos(ing) between the accused and his accuser . . . the commonsense judgment of a group of laymen' representative of a cross section of the community, Williams v. Florida, 399 U.S. 78, 100, 90 S.Ct. 1893, 1906, 26 L.Ed.2d 446, is served despite the absence of a unanimity requirement. Pp. 410—411.

(b) Petitioners' argument that the Sixth Amendment requires jury unanimity in order to effectuate the reasonable-doubt standard otherwise mandated by due process requirements is without merit since that Amendment does not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt at all. Pp. 411—412.

2. Jury unanimity is not mandated by the Fourteenth Amendment requirements that racial minorities not be systematically excluded from the jury-selection process; even when racial minority members are on the jury, it does not follow that their views will not be just as rationally considered by the other jury members as would be the case under a unanimity rule. Pp. 412—414.

Mr. Justice POWELL concluded that:

1. Although on the basis of history and precedent the Sixth Amendment mandates unanimity in a federal jury trial, the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, while requiring States to provide jury trials for serious crimes, does not incor-

Page 405

porate all the elements of a jury trial within the meaning of the Sixth Amendment and does not require jury unanimity. Oregon's 'ten of twelve' rule is not violative of due process. Pp. 369—377.

2. Nor is the Oregon provision inconsistent with the due process requirement that a jury be drawn from a representative cross section of the community as the jury majority remains under the duty to consider the minority viewpoint in the course of deliberation, and the usual safeguards exist to minimize the possibility of jury irresponsibility. Pp. 378—380.

Richard B. Sobol, Washington D.C., for petitioners.

Jacob B. Tanzer, Salem, Or., for respondent.

Mr. Justice WHITE announced the judgment of the Court in an opinion in which THE CHIEF JUSTICE, Mr. Justice BLACKMUN, and Mr. Justice REHNQUIST joined.

Robert Apodaca, Henry Morgan Cooper, Jr., and James Arnold Madden were convicted respectively of assault with a deadly weapon, burglary in a dwelling, and

Page 406

grand larceny before separate Oregon juries, all of which returned less-than-unanimous verdicts. The vote in the cases of Apodaca and Madden was 11—1, while the vote in the case of Cooper was 10—2, the minimum requisite vote under Oregon law for sustaining a conviction.1 After their convictions had been affirmed by the Oregon Court of Appeals, 1 Or.App. 483, 462 P.2d 691 (1969), and review had been denied by the Supreme Court of Oregon, all three sought review in this Court upon a claim that conviction of crime by a less-than-unanimous jury violates the right to trial by jury in criminal cases specified by the Sixth Amendment and made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth. See Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145, 88 S.Ct. 1444, 20 L.Ed.2d 491 (1968). We granted certiroari to consider this claim, 400 U.S. 901, 91 S.Ct. 145, 27 L.Ed.2d 138 (1970), which we now find to be without merit.

In Williams v. Florida, 399 U.S. 78, 90 S.Ct. 1893, 26 L.Ed.2d 446 (1970), we had occasion to consider a related issue: whether the Sixth Amendment's right to trial by jury requires that all juries consist of 12 men. After considering the history of the 12-man requirement and the functions it performs in contemporary society, we concluded that it was not of constitutional stature. We reach the same conclusion today with regard to the requirement of unanimity.

Page 407

I

Like the requirement that juries consist of 12 men, the requirement of unanimity arose during the Middle Ages2

Page 408

and had become an accepted feature of the common-law jury by the 18th century.3 But, as we observed in Williams, 'the relevant constitutional history casts considerable doubt on the easy assumption4 . . . that if a

Page 409

given feature existed in a jury at common law in 1789, then it was necessarily preserved in the Constitution.' Id., at 92—93, 90 S.Ct., at 1902. The most salient fact in the scanty history of the Sixth Amendment, which we reviewed in full in Williams, is that, as it was introduced by James Madison in the House of Representatives, the proposed Amendment provided for trial

'by an impartial jury of freeholders of the vicinage, with the requisite of unanimity for conviction, of the right of challenge, and other accustomed requisites . . .' 1 Annals of Cong. 435 (1789).

Although it passed the House with little alteration, this proposal ran into considerable opposition in the Senate, particularly with regard to the vicinage requirement of the House version. The draft of the proposed Amendment was returned to the House in considerably altered form, and a conference committee was appointed. That committee refused to accept not only the original House language but also an alternate suggestion by the House conferees that juries be defined as possessing 'the accustomed requisites.' Letter from James Madison to Edmund Pendleton, Sept. 23, 1789, in 5 Writings of James Madison 424 (G. Hunt ed. 1904). Instead, the Amendment that ultimately emerged from the committee and then from Congress and the States provided only for trial

'by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law . . .'

As we observed in Williams, one can draw conflicting inferences from this legislative history. One possible inference is that Congress eliminated references to unanimity and to the other 'accustomed requisites' of the jury because those requisites were thought already to be

Page 410

implicit in the very concept of jury. A contrary explanation, which we found in Williams to be the more plausible, is that the deletion was intended to have some substantive effect. See 399 U.S., at 96—97, 90 S.Ct., at 1903—1904. Surely one fact that is absolutely clear from this history is that, after a proposal had been made to specify precisely which of the common-law requisites of the jury were to be preserved by the Constitution, the Framers explicitly rejected the proposal and instead left such specification to the future. As in Williams, we must accordingly consider what is meant by the concept 'jury' and determine whether a feature commonly associated with it is constitutionally required. And, as in Williams, our inability to divine 'the intent of the Framers' when they eliminated references to the 'accustomed requisites' requires that in determining what is meant by a jury we must turn to other than purely historical considerations.

II

Our inquiry must focus upon the function served by the jury in contemporary society. Cf. Williams v. Florida, supra, at 99 100, 90 S.Ct., at 1905. As we said in Duncan, the purpose of trial by jury is to prevent oppression by the Government by providing a 'safeguard against the corrupt or overzealous prosecutor and against the complaint, biased, or eccentric judge.' Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S., at 156, 88 S.Ct., at 1451. 'Given this purpose, the essential feature of a jury obviously lies in the interposition between the accused and his accuser of the commonsense judgment of a group of laymen . . .' Williams v. Florida, supra, 399 U.S., at 100, 90 S.Ct., at 1906. A requirement of unanimity, however, does not materially contribute to the exercise of this commonsense judgment. As we said in Williams, a jury will come to such a judgment as long as it consists of a group of laymen representative of a cross section of the community who have the duty and the opportunity to de-

Page 411

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845 practice notes
  • Colgrove v. Battin 8212 1442, No. 71
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 21 Junio 1973
    ...this case is not settled by the prior decisions of this Court upholding nonunanimous and six-man criminal juries. See Apodaca v. Oregon, 406 U.S. 404, 92 S.Ct. 1628, 32 L.Ed.2d 184 (1972); Johnson v. Louisiana, 406 U.S. 356, 92 S.Ct. 1620, 32 L.Ed.2d 152 (1972); Williams v. Florida, 399 U.S......
  • Williams v. Cavazos, No. 07–56127.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 23 Mayo 2011
    ...Cal. Ct.App. Br. 9; see also id. at 41–42. Although there is no federal right to jury unanimity in state court, see Apodaca v. Oregon, 406 U.S. 404, 412, 92 S.Ct. 1628, 32 L.Ed.2d 184 (1972), California does provide such a right, see People v. Feagley, 14 Cal.3d 338, 350 n. 10, 121 Cal.Rptr......
  • U.S. v. Harris, Nos. 89-3205
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 3 Abril 1992
    ...that the Sixth Amendment's unanimity requirement, which is inapplicable to state criminal trials generally, see Apodaca v. Oregon, 406 U.S. 404, 410-12, 92 S.Ct. 1628, 1632-33, 32 L.Ed.2d 184 (1972) (plurality opinion); id. at 414 (Powell, J., concurring in the judgment), should apply to st......
  • U.S. v. Humphrey, No. 99-3374.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • 17 Abril 2002
    ...and the due process right to be convicted by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt are independent legal entitlements. See Apodaca v. Oregon, 406 U.S. 404, 411, 92 S.Ct. 1628, 32 L.Ed.2d 184 (1972) ("We are quite sure ... that the Sixth Amendment itself has never been held to require proof bey......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
841 cases
  • Colgrove v. Battin 8212 1442, No. 71
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 21 Junio 1973
    ...this case is not settled by the prior decisions of this Court upholding nonunanimous and six-man criminal juries. See Apodaca v. Oregon, 406 U.S. 404, 92 S.Ct. 1628, 32 L.Ed.2d 184 (1972); Johnson v. Louisiana, 406 U.S. 356, 92 S.Ct. 1620, 32 L.Ed.2d 152 (1972); Williams v. Florida, 399 U.S......
  • Williams v. Cavazos, No. 07–56127.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 23 Mayo 2011
    ...Cal. Ct.App. Br. 9; see also id. at 41–42. Although there is no federal right to jury unanimity in state court, see Apodaca v. Oregon, 406 U.S. 404, 412, 92 S.Ct. 1628, 32 L.Ed.2d 184 (1972), California does provide such a right, see People v. Feagley, 14 Cal.3d 338, 350 n. 10, 121 Cal.Rptr......
  • U.S. v. Harris, Nos. 89-3205
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 3 Abril 1992
    ...that the Sixth Amendment's unanimity requirement, which is inapplicable to state criminal trials generally, see Apodaca v. Oregon, 406 U.S. 404, 410-12, 92 S.Ct. 1628, 1632-33, 32 L.Ed.2d 184 (1972) (plurality opinion); id. at 414 (Powell, J., concurring in the judgment), should apply to st......
  • U.S. v. Humphrey, No. 99-3374.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • 17 Abril 2002
    ...and the due process right to be convicted by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt are independent legal entitlements. See Apodaca v. Oregon, 406 U.S. 404, 411, 92 S.Ct. 1628, 32 L.Ed.2d 184 (1972) ("We are quite sure ... that the Sixth Amendment itself has never been held to require proof bey......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
4 books & journal articles
  • More than Just a Factfinder: The Right to Unanimous Jury Sentencing in Capital Cases.
    • United States
    • Michigan Law Review Vol. 120 Nbr. 7, May 2022
    • 1 Mayo 2022
    ...trial rights should apply to capital sentencing). (24.) Ramos v. Louisiana, 140 S. Ct. 1390, 1395 (2020). (25.) Apodaca v. Oregon, 406 U.S. 404 (1972); Johnson v. Louisiana, 406 U.S. 356 (1972); La. Const. art. 1, [section] 17 (amended 2018); Or. Const. art. I, [section] 11. In November 201......
  • Recent Legal Developments: Criminal Justice Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, 2019 Term
    • United States
    • Criminal Justice Review Nbr. 47-2, June 2022
    • 1 Junio 2022
    ...authorship, and/or publication of thisarticle.ORCID iDCraig Hemmens https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2909-260XCases CitedApodaca v. Oregon, 406 U.S. 404 (1972).Bannister v. Davis, 589 U.S. ___ (2020).Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).Clemons v. Mississippi, 494 U.S. 738 (19......
  • The Supreme Court of the United States, 1971-1972
    • United States
    • Political Research Quarterly Nbr. 25-4, December 1972
    • 1 Diciembre 1972
    ...more jurors where moreserious crimes or more severe punishments are at issue.&dquo; (P. 364.) The second jury case was Apodaca v. Oregon (406 U.S. 404; 92 S. Ct. in which the question of the validity of convictions of felonies by less than unani-mous verdicts of juries was before the Court.......
  • Recent Legal Developments: Criminal Justice Decisions of the United States Supreme Court, 2,020 Term
    • United States
    • Criminal Justice Review Nbr. 47-1, March 2022
    • 1 Marzo 2022
    ...authorship and/or publication of thisarticle.ORCID iDCraig Hemmens https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2909-260XReferencesApodaca v. Oregon, 406 U.S. 404 (1972).Borden v. United States, ___ U.S. ___ (2021).Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 U.S. 433 (1973).California v. Hodari D, 499 U.S. 621 (1991).Caniglia ......

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