Taylor v. Louisiana

419 U.S. 522 (1975)


Taylor (D) was indicted for aggravated kidnapping. D moved the trial court to quash the petit jury venire drawn for the special criminal term beginning with his trial the following day. D alleged that women were systematically excluded from the venire and that he would, therefore, be deprived of what he claimed to be his federal constitutional right to 'a fair trial by jury of a representative segment of the community . . . .' While 53% of the persons eligible for jury service in these parishes were female, no more than 10% of the persons on the jury wheel in St. Tammany Parish were women. During the period from December 8, 1971, to November 3, 1972, 12 females were among the 1,800 persons drawn to fill petit jury venires in St. Tammany Parish. This was the result of the operation of La. Const., Art. VII, § 41, and La. Code Crim. Proc., Art. 402. These laws provided that a woman should not be selected for jury service unless she had previously filed a written declaration of her desire to be subject to jury service. For D's case, a venire totaling 175 persons was drawn for jury service. There were no females on the venire. D's motion to quash the venire was denied that same day. D was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. D sought review in the Supreme Court of Louisiana, where he renewed his claim that the petit jury venire should have been quashed. The Supreme Court of Louisiana held that the state laws were valid and not unconstitutional under federal law. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.