Eubanks v. State of Louisiana, No. 550

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBLACK
Citation78 S.Ct. 970,356 U.S. 584,2 L.Ed.2d 991
PartiesFreddie EUBANKS, Petitioner, v. STATE OF LOUISIANA
Docket NumberNo. 550
Decision Date26 May 1958

356 U.S. 584
78 S.Ct. 970
2 L.Ed.2d 991
Freddie EUBANKS, Petitioner,

v.

STATE OF LOUISIANA.

No. 550.
Argued April 30 and May 1, 1958.
Decided May 26, 1958.

Mr. Herbert J. Garon, New Orleans, La., for petitioner.

Mr. M. E. Culligan, New Orleans, La., for respondent.

Page 585

Mr. Justice BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court.

In an unbroken line of cases stretching back almost 80 years this Court has held that a criminal defendant is denied the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment if he is indicted by a grand jury or tried by a petit jury from which members of his race have been excluded because of their race.1 Our only concern here is with the application of this established principle to the facts disclosed by the record now before us.

The petitioner, a young Negro, was indicted by an all-white grand jury in the Parish of Orleans, Louisiana, for murder of a white woman. He moved to quash the indictment on the ground that Negroes had been systematically excluded from grand juries in the parish, including the grand jury which returned the indictment against him. After a hearing, his motion was overruled, and he was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. The Louisiana Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the record disclosed no discriminatory exclusion of Negroes from his grand jury, 232 La. 289, 94 So.2d 262. We granted certiorari, 355 U.S. 812, 78 S.Ct. 68, 2 L.Ed.2d 30.

The method by which grand juries are selected in the parish is not controverted. A jury commission is

Page 586

required to select, 'impartially, from the citizens of the Parish of Orleans having the qualifications requisite to register as voters, the names of not less than seven hundred and fifty persons competent * * * to serve as jurors.'2 Twice each year the Commissioners draw the names of 75 persons from this group. The list of 75 is then submitted to one of the six judges of the local criminal court who, in rotation, choose a new grand jury of 12 every six months.3 Obviously the judges have broad discretion in selecting from the list provided by the Commission. State v. Dorsey, 207 La. 928, 22 So.2d 273. Several of them interview a substantial number of prospective jurors before making their choice. Others, including the judge who chose the jury that indicted petitioner, testified that they usually selected on the basis of personal knowledge or reputation in the community. Petitioner does not challenge this system of choosing grand jurors, as such, but he does contend that it has been administered by the local judges so that members of the Negro race have been systematically excluded from grand jury service.

Although Negroes comprise about one-third of the population of the parish, the uncontradicted testimony of various witnesses established that only one Negro had been picked for grand jury duty within memory. And this lone exception apparently resulted from the mistaken impression that the juror was white. From 1936, when the Commission first began to include Negroes in the pool of potential jurors, until 1954, when petitioner was indicted, 36 grand juries were selected in the parish. Six or more Negroes were included in each list submitted to the local judges. Yet out of the 432 jurors selected only the single Negro was chosen. Undisputed testi-

Page 587

mony also proved that a substantial number of the large Negro population in the parish were educated, registered to vote and possessed the qualifications required for jury service, all of which is emphasized by the fact that since 1936 the Commission has regularly selected Negroes for the grand jury panel. Indeed, Negroes have served on the federal grand jury in the parish for many years.

In Patton v. State of Mississippi, 332 U.S. 463, 469, 68 S.Ct. 184, 187, 92 L.Ed. 76, this Court declared, in a unanimous opinion, that 'When a jury selection plan, whatever it is, operates in such way as always to result in the complete and long-continued exclusion of any representative at all from a large group of Negroes, or any other racial group, indictments and verdicts returned against them by juries thus selected cannot stand.' This is...

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188 practice notes
  • Ramseur v. Beyer, No. 90-5333
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • December 31, 1992
    ...347 U.S. 475, 74 S.Ct. 667, 98 L.Ed. 866 (1954); Reece v. Georgia, 350 U.S. 85, 76 S.Ct. 167, 100 L.Ed. 77 (1955); Eubanks v. Louisiana, 356 U.S. 584, 78 S.Ct. 970, 2 L.Ed.2d 991 (1958); Arnold v. North Carolina, 376 U.S. 773, 84 S.Ct. 1032, 12 L.Ed.2d 77 (1964); Alexander v. Louisiana, 405......
  • Sumpter v. DeGroote, No. 76-1849
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • April 1, 1977
    ...the benefits . . . which the Constitution commands for all, merely as we may deem the defendant innocent or guilty." Eubanks v. Louisiana, 356 U.S. 584, 589, 78 S.Ct. 970, 974, 2 L.Ed.2d 991 (1958), quoting Hill v. Texas, 316 U.S. 400, 406, 62 S.Ct. 1159, 86 L.Ed. 1559 But, even assuming ar......
  • Hollis v. Davis, No. 88-7477
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • September 18, 1991
    ...at 2646. But the respondents do not challenge the magistrate's finding that returning to state court is futile. 5 Eubanks v. Louisiana, 356 U.S. 584, 78 S.Ct. 970, 2 L.Ed.2d 991 (1958), reversing 232 La. 289, 94 So.2d 262 (1957); Reece v. Georgia, 350 U.S. 85, 76 S.Ct. 167, 100 L.Ed. 77 (19......
  • Rubio v. Superior Court, S.F. 23711
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • April 24, 1979
    ...311 U.S. 128, 61 S.Ct. 164, 85 L.Ed. 84; Patton v. Mississippi (1947) 332 U.S. 463, 68 S.Ct. 184, 92 L.Ed. 76; Eubanks v. Louisiana (1958) 356 U.S. 584, 78 S.Ct. 970, 2 L.Ed.2d 991; Swain v. Alabama (1965) 380 U.S. 202, 85 S.Ct. 824, 13 L.Ed.2d 759; Peters v. Kiff (1972) 407 U.S. 493, 92 S.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
187 cases
  • Ramseur v. Beyer, No. 90-5333
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • December 31, 1992
    ...347 U.S. 475, 74 S.Ct. 667, 98 L.Ed. 866 (1954); Reece v. Georgia, 350 U.S. 85, 76 S.Ct. 167, 100 L.Ed. 77 (1955); Eubanks v. Louisiana, 356 U.S. 584, 78 S.Ct. 970, 2 L.Ed.2d 991 (1958); Arnold v. North Carolina, 376 U.S. 773, 84 S.Ct. 1032, 12 L.Ed.2d 77 (1964); Alexander v. Louisiana, 405......
  • Sumpter v. DeGroote, No. 76-1849
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • April 1, 1977
    ...the benefits . . . which the Constitution commands for all, merely as we may deem the defendant innocent or guilty." Eubanks v. Louisiana, 356 U.S. 584, 589, 78 S.Ct. 970, 974, 2 L.Ed.2d 991 (1958), quoting Hill v. Texas, 316 U.S. 400, 406, 62 S.Ct. 1159, 86 L.Ed. 1559 But, even assuming ar......
  • Hollis v. Davis, No. 88-7477
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • September 18, 1991
    ...at 2646. But the respondents do not challenge the magistrate's finding that returning to state court is futile. 5 Eubanks v. Louisiana, 356 U.S. 584, 78 S.Ct. 970, 2 L.Ed.2d 991 (1958), reversing 232 La. 289, 94 So.2d 262 (1957); Reece v. Georgia, 350 U.S. 85, 76 S.Ct. 167, 100 L.Ed. 77 (19......
  • Rubio v. Superior Court, S.F. 23711
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • April 24, 1979
    ...311 U.S. 128, 61 S.Ct. 164, 85 L.Ed. 84; Patton v. Mississippi (1947) 332 U.S. 463, 68 S.Ct. 184, 92 L.Ed. 76; Eubanks v. Louisiana (1958) 356 U.S. 584, 78 S.Ct. 970, 2 L.Ed.2d 991; Swain v. Alabama (1965) 380 U.S. 202, 85 S.Ct. 824, 13 L.Ed.2d 759; Peters v. Kiff (1972) 407 U.S. 493, 92 S.......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Supreme Court Behavior and Civil Rights
    • United States
    • Political Research Quarterly Nbr. 13-2, June 1960
    • June 1, 1960
    ...be reflected in a less favorable dis- position of the Court as a whole toward civil liberties claims. Analysis verifies v. Louisiana, 356 U.S. 584 (1958); Benanti v. U.S., 355 U.S. 96 (1957); Eskridge v. Wash-ington, 357 U.S. 214 (1958); Lambert v. California, 355 U.S. 225 (1957); Staub v. ......

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