Login

Login

To access this feature, please Log In or Register for your Casebriefs Account.

Add to Library

Add

Search

Login
Register

Duncan v. Louisiana

    Brief Fact Summary. Appellant, Gary Duncan, sought trial by jury after being charged with a misdemeanor. Trial by jury was denied. Subsequently, Appellant successfully challenged the denial of trial by jury claiming that the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments secure the right to trial by jury in state criminal prosecutions where a sentence as long as two years may be imposed, as here.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Because trial by jury in a criminal case is fundamental to the American scheme of justice, the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments secure the right to trial by jury in state criminal prosecutions where a sentence as long as two years may be imposed.

    Facts. Appellant, Gary Duncan, was charged with a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of two years in imprisonment and a $300 fine. He sought trial by jury, but since Louisiana’s constitution grants trials only in cases in which capital punishment or imprisonment at hard labor may be imposed, his request was denied. Appellant was convicted and sentenced to sixty days in prison and fined $150. Appellant alleged that the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments secure the right to trial by jury as long as two years may be imposed.

    Issue. Whether the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments secure the right to trial by jury in state criminal prosecutions where a sentence as long as two years may be imposed?

    Held. Yes. Judgment reversed and remanded for further proceedings. The Supreme Court of the United States held that the Constitution was violated when Appellant’s demand for a jury trial was denied. The Court stated that the Sixth Amendment guarantee of trial by jury in criminal cases was “fundamental to the American scheme of justice,” and that the states were obligated under the Fourteenth Amendment to provide such trials. Thus, a general grant of jury trial for serious offenses is a fundamental right

    Dissent. The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment does not require uniformity; nor does it require adherence to old forms; and it does not impose on states the rules that may be enforced in federal courts except where such rules are found to be essential to basic fairness. There is no reason to reverse the conviction of the Appellant absent any suggestion that his trial was unfair. The Court has chosen to impose on every state one means of trying cases.
    Concurrence. The Fourteenth Amendment was intended to make the Bill of Rights applicable to the states. However, the selective incorporation process has the virtue of having already worked to make most of the Bill of Rights applicable to the states.

    Discussion. The majority uses selective incorporation to ensure that all criminal processes of the Bill of Rights are now applicable to the states with the exception of the grand jury indictment provision of the Fifth Amendme


    Create New Group

      Casebriefs is concerned with your security, please complete the following