The Taft Court (1921–30)

Criminal Justice and Procedure

Federal juries generally must consist of twelve members according to what Taft Court decision?

The Taft Court ruled in Patton v. New York (1930) that a criminal defendant can waive his or her right to a jury of twelve members when one of the jurors involved in the case becomes sick and is unable to continue. However, the Court reiterated in strong language that a jury should be composed of twelve members absent highly unusual circumstances: “A constitutional jury means twelve men as though that number had been specifically named; and it follows that, when reduced to eleven, it ceases to be such a jury quite as effectively as though the number had been reduced to a single person.”


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