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Abstract

Appellant, a male, was convicted in a Louisiana state court of aggravated kidnapping. Prior to his trial, he had moved to quash the petit jury venire on the ground that women had been systematically excluded from it. Under the Louisiana Constitution and criminal procedure statutes, a woman could not be selected for jury service unless she had filed a written declaration with the court clerk of her desire to serve on a jury. The trial court denied appellant's motion. The Supreme Court of Louisiana affirmed, determining that the statutory provisions were "neither irrational nor discriminatory"' and thus did not violate either the Federal Constitution or federal law. The United States Supreme Court reversed, declaring the Louisiana jury selection procedure unconstitutional. The Court held that the presence of a fair cross section of the community is an essential requirement of an individual's right to jury trial and that this right is contravened by the exclusion of women from jury panels.

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