Brief Fact Summary. Taylor appealed from conviction when his jury did not include any women, on the basis that Art. 402 of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure, which precluded women from jury service, was unconstitutional.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Jury pools, from which juries are selected, should represent an accurate cross-section of the community.
Issue. Whether a state law, maintaining that women need not serve on juries, is facially unconstitutional and whether a defendant may argue that his right to a fair jury has been affected by such a law.
Held. Reversed and Remanded. “if the fair cross-section rule is to govern the selection of juries, as we have concluded it must, women cannot be systematically excluded from jury panels from which petit juries are drawn.”
Dissent. Justice Rehnquist dissented, noting that the Judgment was grounded more in mysticism than law and the court has failed to prove how the Louisiana system undermines the operation of the law.
Discussion. While defendants are not entitled to a jury of any particular composition, the pools of names or venires from which juries are drawn must not systematically exclude distinctive groups in the community.