Ballard v. United States, No. 37

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtDOUGLAS
Citation91 L.Ed. 181,329 U.S. 187,67 S.Ct. 261
PartiesBALLARD et al. v. UNITED STATES
Decision Date09 December 1946
Docket NumberNo. 37

329 U.S. 187
67 S.Ct. 261
91 L.Ed. 181
BALLARD et al.

v.

UNITED STATES.

No. 37.
Argued Oct. 15, 1946.
Decided Dec. 9, 1946.

Page 188

Messrs. Roland Rich Woolley and Ralph C. Curren, both of Los Angeles, Cal., for petitioners.

Miss Beatrice Rosenberg, of Washington, D.C., for respondent.

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case is here for the second time. It involves the indictment and conviction of respondents for using, and conspiring to use, the mails t defraud. Criminal Code

Page 189

s 215, 18 U.S.C. § 338, 18 U.S.C.A. § 338.; Criminal Code § 37, 18 U.S.C. § 88, 18 U.S.C.A. § 88. The fraudulent scheme charged was the promotion of the I Am movement, which was alleged to be a fraudulent religious organization, through the use of the mails. The nature of the movement and the facts surrounding its origin and growth are summarized in our prior opinion. 322 U.S. 78, 64 S.Ct. 882, 88 L.Ed. 1148. It is sufficient here to say that petitioners were found guilty on a charge by the trial judge which withheld from the jury all questions concerning the truth or falsity of their religious beliefs or doctrines. The Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and granted a new trial, holding it was error to withhold those questions from the jury. 9 Cir., 138 F.2d 540. We in turn, reversed the Circuit Court of Appeals and sustained the District Court in that ruling. Petitioners argued, however, that even though the Circuit Court of Appeals erred in reversing the judgment of conviction on that ground, its action was justified on other distinct grounds. But the Circuit Court of Appeals had not passed on those other questions; and we did not have the benefit of its views on them. We accordingly deemed it more appropriate to remand the cause to that court so that it might first pass on the questions reserved.

On the remand the Circuit Court of Appeals, one judge dissenting, affirmed the judgment of conviction without discussion of the issues raised. On a petition for rehearing, which was denied, the Circuit Court of Appeals filed an opinion which discussed some but not all of the questions which had been reserved. 9 Cir., 152 F.2d 941. We granted the petition for certiorari because of the serious questions concerning the administration of criminal justice which were raised.

We are met at the outset with the concession that women were not included in the panel of grand and petit jurors in the Southern District of California where the

Page 190

indictment was returned and the trial had; that they were intentionally and systematically excluded from the panel.1 This issue was raised by a motion to quash the indictment and by a challenge to the array of the petit jurors because of intentional and systematic exclusion of women from the panel. Both motions were denied and their denial was assigned as error on appeal. The jury question has been in issue at each stage of the proceedings, except the first time that the case was before us. At that time the point was not assigned or argued. But the case was here at the instance of the United States, not at the instance of the present petitioners. As we have said, there were other issues in the case obscured by the question brought here by the United States and which had not been passed upon below or argued before this Court. Consequently, when we remanded the case for consideration of the remaining issues by the Circuit Court of Appeals, the jury issue was argued. The Circuit Court of Appeals did not hold that it had been waived. That court passed upon the issue, concluding that there was no error in the exclusion of women from the panel. 152 F.2d at page 944, and see dissent at page 953. Under these circumstances we cannot say (and the government does not suggest) that petitioners have lost the right to urge the question here. Moreover, in this case, as in Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145, 168, 169, 25 L.Ed. 244, the error, though not presented here on the first argument, appears on the face of the record before us. And see Sibbach v. Wilson & Co., 312 U.S. 1, 16, 61 S.Ct. 422, 427, 85 L.Ed. 479.

Congress has provided that jurors in a federal court shall have the same qualifications as those of the highest court of law in the State. Judicial Code § 275, 28 U.S. 338; Criminal Code § 37, 18 U.S.C. § 88, C. § 411, 28 .S.C.A. § 411.

Page 191

This provision applies to grand as well as petit juries.2 Congress also has prohibited disqualification of citizens from jury service 'on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.'3 It has required that jurors shall be chosen 'without reference to party affiliations'. 4 It has provided that jurors shall be returned from such parts of the district as the court may direct 'so as to be most favorable to an impartial trial, and so as not to incur an unnecessary expense, or unduly burden the citizens of any part of the district'.5 None of the specific exemptions6 which it has created is along the lines of sex.

These provisions reflect a design to make the jury 'a cross-section of the community' and truly representative of it. Glasser v. United States, 315 U.S. 60, 86, 62 S.Ct. 457, 472, 86 L.Ed. 680.

In California, as in most States,7 women are eligible for jury service under local law. Code of Civil Procedure, § 198. The system of jury selection which Congress has adopted contemplated, therefore, that juries in the federal courts sitting in such States would be representative of both sexes. If women are excluded, only half of the available population is drawn upon for jury service. To put the

Page 192

matter another way, Congress has referred to state law merely to determine who is qualified to act as a juror. Whether the method of selecting a jury in the federal court from those qualified is or is not proper is a question of federal law.8 Glasser v. United States, supra, 315 U.S. at pages 85, 86, 62 S.Ct. at pages 471, 472, 86 L.Ed. 680.

In Thiel v. Southern Pacific Co., 328 U.S. 217, 66 S.Ct. 984, we were presented with a similar problem. It was a civil case which had been removed to the district court on the ground of diversity of citizenship and involved a question of the liability of a common carrier to a passenger. All persons who worked for a daily wage had been deliberately and intentionally excluded from the jury lists. We held, in the exercise of our power of supervision over the administration of justice in the federal courts, see McNabb v. United States, 318 U.S. 332, 63 S.Ct. 608, 87 L.Ed. 819, that the plaintiff's motion to strike the panel should have been granted. The gist of our ruling is contained in the following statement from the opinion in the Thiel case:

'The American tradition of trial by jury, considered in connection with either cr minal or civil proceedings, necessarily contemplates an impartial jury drawn from a cross-section of the community. * * * This does not mean, of course, that every jury must contain representatives of all the economic, social, religious, racial, political and geographical groups of the community; frequently such complete representation would be impossible. But it does mean that prospec-

Page 193

tive jurors shall be selected by court officials without systematic and intentional exclusion of any of these groups. Recognition must be given to the fact that those eligible for jury service are to be found in every stratum of society. Jury competence is an individual rather than a group or class matter. That fact lies at the very heart of the jury system. To disregard it is to open the door to class distinctions and dicriminations which are abhorrent to the democratic ideals of trial by jury.' 328 U.S. 220, 66 S.Ct. 985.

We conclude that the purposeful and systematic exclusion of women from the panel in this case was a departure from the scheme of jury selection which Congress adopted and that, as in the Thiel case, we should exercise our power of supervision over the administration of justice in the federal courts, McNabb v. United States, supra, to correct an error which permeated this proceeding.

It is said, however, that an all male panel drawn from the various groups within a community will be as truly representative as if women were included. The thought is that the factors which tend to influence the action of women are the same as those which influence the action of men—personality, background, economic status—and not sex.9 Yet it is not enough to say that women when sitting as jurors neither act nor tend to act as a class. Men likewise do not act as a class. But if the shoe were on the other foot, who would claim that a jury was truly representative of the community if all men were intentionally and systematically excluded from the panel? The truth is that the two sexes are not fungible; a community made up exclusively of one is different from a community composed of both; the subtle interplay of influence one on the other is among the imponderables.

Page 194

10 To insulate the courtroom from either may not in a given case make an iota of difference. Yet a flavor, a distinct quality is lost if either sex is excluded. The exclusion of one may indeed make the jury less representative of the community than would be true if an economic or racial group were excluded.

The present case involves a prosecution of a mother and her son for the promotion of an allegedly fraudulent religious program. Judge Denman in his dissent below stated:

'In the average family from which jurors are drawn, the souls of children in their infant and early adolescent bodies receive the first and most lasting teaching of religious truths from their mothers. In the same families the major social function of men is concerned with the creation of material things, largely food and clothing and housing of the children's bodies.

'In the public schools over ninety-five per cent of the primary and grammar school teachers are women. In the...

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382 practice notes
  • Barber v. Ponte, No. 84-1750
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • September 18, 1985
    ...307-10, 25 L.Ed. 664 (1879), the supervisory power of the court over the right to jury trials in federal courts, Ballard v. United States, 329 U.S. 187, 193, 67 S.Ct. 261, 264, 91 L.Ed. 181 (1946); Thiel v. Southern Pacific Co., 328 U.S. 217, 66 S.Ct. 984, 90 L.Ed. 1181 (1946), and the sixt......
  • Hobby v. United States, No. 82-2140
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • July 2, 1984
    ...of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. . . ." Id., at 505-507, 92 S.Ct., at 2169-2171. 1. Cf. Ballard v. United States, 329 U.S. 187, 67 S.Ct. 261, 91 L.Ed. 181 (1946): "[E]xclusion of women from jury panels may at times be highly prejudicial to the defendants. But reversible e......
  • Ramseur v. Beyer, No. 90-5333
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • December 31, 1992
    ...the democratic ideal reflected in the processes of our courts.' Rose, 443 U.S. at 556, 99 S.Ct. at 3000 (quoting Ballard v. United States, 329 U.S. 187, 195, 67 S.Ct. 261, 265, 91 L.Ed. 181 (1946)). Thus, our primary concern in a case like this one is with the harm caused to the justice sys......
  • United States v. Zirpolo, Cr. A. No. 75-67.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • August 1, 1968
    ...favor of men's names amounts to a systematic exclusion of and discrimination against women citing, inter alia, Ballard v. United States, 329 U.S. 187, 67 S.Ct. 261, 91 L.Ed. 181 (1946). Additionally, movants assert that further evidence, uncontroverted by the Government, indicates that cont......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
383 cases
  • Barber v. Ponte, No. 84-1750
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • September 18, 1985
    ...307-10, 25 L.Ed. 664 (1879), the supervisory power of the court over the right to jury trials in federal courts, Ballard v. United States, 329 U.S. 187, 193, 67 S.Ct. 261, 264, 91 L.Ed. 181 (1946); Thiel v. Southern Pacific Co., 328 U.S. 217, 66 S.Ct. 984, 90 L.Ed. 1181 (1946), and the sixt......
  • Hobby v. United States, No. 82-2140
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • July 2, 1984
    ...of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. . . ." Id., at 505-507, 92 S.Ct., at 2169-2171. 1. Cf. Ballard v. United States, 329 U.S. 187, 67 S.Ct. 261, 91 L.Ed. 181 (1946): "[E]xclusion of women from jury panels may at times be highly prejudicial to the defendants. But reversible e......
  • Ramseur v. Beyer, No. 90-5333
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • December 31, 1992
    ...the democratic ideal reflected in the processes of our courts.' Rose, 443 U.S. at 556, 99 S.Ct. at 3000 (quoting Ballard v. United States, 329 U.S. 187, 195, 67 S.Ct. 261, 265, 91 L.Ed. 181 (1946)). Thus, our primary concern in a case like this one is with the harm caused to the justice sys......
  • United States v. Zirpolo, Cr. A. No. 75-67.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • August 1, 1968
    ...favor of men's names amounts to a systematic exclusion of and discrimination against women citing, inter alia, Ballard v. United States, 329 U.S. 187, 67 S.Ct. 261, 91 L.Ed. 181 (1946). Additionally, movants assert that further evidence, uncontroverted by the Government, indicates that cont......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • The Supreme Court as Protector of Civil Rights: Criminal Justice
    • United States
    • ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The Nbr. 275-1, May 1951
    • May 1, 1951
    ...Black, Douglas, Murphy, Rutledge, JJ., dis- a criminal case affecting a wage earner. senting in both cases. 65 Ballard v. United States, 329 U. S. 187 70 Dennis v. United States, 183 F. (2d) 201 (1946)—Vinson, C.J., Frankfurter, Jackson, (2d Circ. 1950)—cert. granted, 340 U. S. ......
1 provisions
  • Chapter 317, AB 2542 – Criminal procedure: discrimination
    • United States
    • California Session Laws
    • January 1, 2020
    ...is especially pernicious in the administration of justice." (Rose v. Mitchell, 443 U.S. 545, 556 (1979) (quoting Ballard v. United States, 329 U.S. 187, 195 (1946))). The United States Supreme Court has also recognized "the impact of & evidence [of racial bias] cannot be measured simply by ......

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