The Stone Court (1941–46)
Did the Stone Court reverse a criminal conviction for discrimination in the grand jury selection process?
Yes, the Stone Court unanimously reversed a rape conviction in Hill v. Texas (1942) when it found that in Dallas County, Texas, no black had been called to serve on the grand jury for sixteen years. Henry Allen Hill, a black male defendant, was convicted to die for the rape of a woman in 1940. On appeal, he alleged that this conviction was tainted by the county’s racially discriminatory process, which did not allow blacks to serve on the grand jury.
For years, the county commissioners had, in the words of the Court, “consciously omitted to place the name of any negro on the jury list.” This smacked of racial discrimination and required a reversal of the conviction. The Court emphasized that the state could re-try the defendant for the rape “by the procedure which conforms to constitutional requirements.”