Sixth Amendment, Jury Selection, Unconstitutional


When defendant Leon Jones was arrested, he moved to be transferred to the district where the crimes occured. He asserted that the fourteenth and sixth amendments entitled him to be tried by a jury drawn from this district. Mr. Jones' request was denied and he was convicted. The intermediate appellate court held that a jury drawn from any district within the county satisfied the constitutional requirements but on appeal, the California Supreme Court reversed and held Jones was entitled to a jury from the district where the crime was committed. The court based its opinion on the principle that a jury drawn from a portion of the county exclusive of the place of the commission of the crime will not satisfy the requirement. Relying on dictum from previous cases, the court held that absent compelling reasons, residents of the district where the crime is committed must always be included in the group from which the jury is drawn. The court held no showing of prejudice is necessary but the court faced difficulty in applying the term 'district' in the sixth amendment on the state level. The districts in the county were not divided in the same manner by which federal districts are divided but the court applied the statute on its face and required the districts be treated as the equivalent of federal districts.



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