Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiff Thiel attempts to strike the jury but the court denies the motion. The Supreme Court then grants certiorari to determine if Plaintiff’s motion was properly denied.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
A court may not systematically and automatically exclude daily wage earners from jury selection.
The broad representative character of the jury should be maintained, partly as assurance of a diffused impartiality and partly because sharing in the administration of justice is a phase of civic responsibility.View Full Point of Law
Plaintiff Thiel jumped out of a moving train operated by Defendant Southern Pacific. Plaintiff Theil sued Defendant Southern Pacific alleging that he was not mentally competent to board the train and that Southern Pacific should have guarded him while he was onboard. Plaintiff Thiel requested a jury trial. Once the jury was chosen Plaintiff moved to strike the entire jury because he alleged they would not be able to be impartial because they were sympathetic to business owners or affiliated with Defendant Southern Pacific. The court denied the motion. Theil renewed his motion and attempted to withdraw his jury demand, but the court again denied the motion. The jury found in favor of Defendant Southern Pacific. Plaintiff Theil filed a motion to set aside the verdict or to be granted a new trial, both of which were denied. The court of appeals affirmed and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari on the issue of whether Plaintiff Thiel’s motion to strike the jury was properly denied.
May a court systematically and automatically exclude daily wage earners from jury selection?
No, a court may not systematically and automatically exclude daily wage earners from jury selection. The holding below is reversed.