Friday, December 27, 2013

Colgrove v. Battin case brief

Colgrove v. Battin case brief summary
413 U.S. 149 (1973)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Petitioner challenged a decision of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which sustained the validity of U.S. Dist. Ct., D. Mont., R. 13(d)(1) and denied petitioner's writ of mandamus to direct respondent to impanel a 12-member jury. Petitioner claimed that Rule 13(d)(1) violated U.S.Constitutional Amendment VII as well as 28 U.S.C.S. § 2072.

CASE FACTS
Respondent district court judge set a diversity case for trial before a jury of six in compliance with U.S. Dist. Ct., D. Mont., R. 13(d)(1). Petitioner sought mandamus from the court of appeals to direct respondent to impanel a 12-member jury. Petitioner contended that Rule 13(d)(1) violated U.S.Constitutional Amendment VII and violated the statutory provision, 28 U.S.C.S. § 2072, that rules would preserve the right of trial by jury as at common law and as declared by the Seventh Amendment. The appellate court found no merit in the contentions, sustained the validity of U.S. Dist. Ct., D. Mont., R. 13(d)(1), and denied the writ.

DISCUSSION

  • The Supreme Court affirmed the decision when the Court found that the requirement for a six-member jury did not violate the constitutional provision for the right to trial by jury. 
  • The Court was unable to find language in any cases or controlling legislation that stated 12 members was a substantive aspect of the right of trial by jury. 
  • The Court also held that 28 U.S.C.S. § 2072 did not provide that a jury had to have the same characteristics of the common-law jury.
CONCLUSION
The Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's decision. The Court found that the local rule, which provided that a jury of six in civil cases could be impaneled, satisfied the Seventh Amendment's guarantee of trial by jury in civil cases. The Court also found that if Congress had wanted to prescribe a jury number or to legislate common-law features, it would have done so in the statutory language.


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