Monday, December 23, 2013

Johnson v. Louisiana case brief

Johnson v. Louisiana case brief summary
406 U.S. 356 (1972)

Defendant challenged a judgment of the Supreme Court of Louisiana that rejected his due process and equal protection challenges to the Louisiana constitutional and statutory provisions, La. Constitutional art. VII, § 41 and La. Code Crim. Proc. art. 782, respectively.

The challenged constitutional and statutory provisions authorized conviction for a crime punishable by hard labor by nine members of a 12-member jury.


  • The Court affirmed the judgment of the lower court because it determined that disagreement of three jurors did not alone establish reasonable doubt, particularly when such a heavy majority of the jury, after having considered the dissenters' views, remained convinced of guilt. 
  • The Court concluded that verdicts rendered by nine out of 12 jurors were not automatically invalidated by the disagreement of the dissenting three. 
  • Defendant was not deprived of due process of law. 
  • The Court determined that it was not a denial of equal protection of the law for the State to treat capital offenders differently from those charged with lesser crimes. 
  • The Court further found that no evidence that might properly have been characterized as the fruit of an illegal entry and arrest was used against defendant at his trial.

The Court affirmed the judgment of the lower court.

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