Duncan v Louisiana 1968
The right to due process of law is a constitutional right that has been defended and debated over the years to come up with a reasonable development of guidelines to be applied by both the federal and state governments. In the situation of Duncan v Louisiana (1968) the challenge by the defendant was that Louisiana had violated his right to a trial by jury as the crime he was accused of and subsequently convicted of was a serious crime potentially punishable by a sentence of up to two years and yet he had been denied a trial by jury because under Louisiana law simple battery, the charge was a misdemeanor and the sentence the man received was only 6 months. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the defendant claiming that Louisiana had violated the man’s constitutional rights by denying him a trial by jury in a serious offence.
Historically speaking the chronology of due process and the right to impartial judgment begins with the fundamental constitutional standards but challenges to these rights began as early as 1927. Though some would say before this in broader cases such as the Indian exclusion acts and the Japanese internment of WWII, where individuals were detained and punished with no due process trial or otherwise.
In Tumez v. Ohio (1927), the Supreme Court ruled that the Bill of Rights, particularly Amendments 5 and 6, applies even to the most minor state courts. Denial of these rights constitutes a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause, which states: “Every defendant has the right to an impartial judge.” (Rosen, 1990, p. 20)
Tumez v Ohio reiterated that no matter how minor an offence or a court system the defendant was granted by the constitution the right to a fair and impartial hearing by fair and impartial judge. This case set precedence for later cases requiring due process of law for criminal proceedings. Gender was the question in Taylor v. Louisiana as juries were at this time traditionally and in some cases legally only represented by men and yet the defendant in this case Taylor felt that this gave her an unfair and partial judgment as men were not by default her peers:
Taylor v. Louisiana (1975), to ensure that a jury is impartial, the court ruled that women may not be excluded. Everyone charged with a penal offense has to have guarantees for his or her defense, states Article 11. (Rosen, 1990, pp. 20-21)
Legal representation was ensured by Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) and in “Miranda v. Arizona (1966), the high court ruled that suspects must be apprised of their rights upon arrest” While in Duncan v. Louisiana (1968) the Supreme Court ruled that the defendant can demand a trial by jury in cases where the potential for sentencing is greater than 6 days and a fine greater than $150. (Rosen, 1990, p. 21)
The legal issue surrounding Duncan v. Duncan v. Louisiana is a clear sense that the exclusion of the opportunity of jury trial cannot be used as a way to allow partial decisions to be made in judgment against another. Louisiana chose to attempt to maintain a conviction of Duncan though there was no clear evidence, other than relatively inflammatory witness testimony that battery had occurred at all. Louisiana found that it did not have enough evidence to convict Duncan on the battery charge so it tried to waive the right to a jury by saying that the charge against Duncan was to minor to require such and allow the judge to rule and sentence Duncan without due process. It is likely that this had been done in many cases before, to ensure that convictions held but also simply as a result of the fact that there are limited resources for jury trials in any given jurisdiction and they are very costly. Though it would remain to be seen if Duncan would have been convicted and subsequently sentenced by a jury of the battery charge, that he adamantly denied culpability of his appeal was that he had a right via the constitution to a trial by jury as his case was criminal and he felt it needed to be heard by more than one individual and thus decided, as did his appellate attorney and in the end the Supreme Court.
Here is a brief synopsis of the prior case according to the Supreme Court Record.
Gary Duncan (19) was convicted of simple battery in the 25th Judicial District of Louisiana. Under Louisiana law simple battery is a misdemeanor and does not require or allow a trial by jury, despite the fact that it is punishable by up to 2 years in prison (meeting the federal 6-month requirement for necessity of trial by jury offering.) Duncan was sentenced to 6 months in jail and a fine of $150. Here is the legal play by play of events that ended in the arrest of Duncan and the subsequent trial testimony of the witnesses and the defendant.
Appellant was 19 years of age when tried. While driving on Highway 23 in Plaquemines Parish on October 18, 1966, he saw two younger cousins engaged in a conversation by the side of the road with four white boys. Knowing his cousins, Negroes who had recently transferred to a formerly all-white high school, had reported the occurrence of racial incidents at the school, Duncan stopped the car, got out, and approached the six boys. At trial the white boys and a white onlooker testified, as did appellant and his cousins. The testimony was in dispute on many points, but the witnesses agreed that appellant and the white boys spoke to each other, that appellant encouraged his cousins to break off the encounter and enter his car, and that appellant was about to enter the car himself for the purpose of driving away with his cousins. The whites testified that just before getting in the car appellant slapped Herman Landry, one of the white boys, on the elbow. The Negroes testified that appellant had not slapped Landry, but had merely touched him. The trial judge concluded that the State had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Duncan had committed simple battery, and found him guilty. (Duncan v. Louisiana, 1968)
The rule of law in the case does not question the authority of the state to deem some crime petty an therefore not eligible for a jury trial offering but in the case where the potential sentence of outcome in this case was 2 years constitutes that it was a serious crime deserving of jury trial consideration.
It is sufficient for our purposes to hold that a crime punishable by two years in prison is, based on past and contemporary standards in this country, a serious crime and not a petty offense. Consequently, appellant was entitled to a jury trial and it was error to deny it. (Duncan v. Louisiana, 1968)
In short what the Supreme Court ruled is that when a defendant is facing a sentence greater than or equal to 2 years (with the federal standard being set at 6 months) the defendant is clearly eligible for a jury trial and this right cannot be waived by the state but only by the defendant as per his/her 14th amendment right to due process of law.
Because we believe that trial by jury in criminal cases is fundamental to the American scheme of justice, we hold that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees a right of jury trial in all criminal cases which — were they to be tried in a federal court — would come within the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee. Since we consider the appeal before us to be such a case, we hold that the Constitution was violated when appellant’s demand for jury trial was refused. (Duncan v. Louisiana, 1968)
Duncan clearly had his rights violated when he asked for a jury trial and did not receive one. Especially given that the conviction was held on conflicting and limited witness testimony that was likely highly charged and differential. In the end is it possible that battery occurred simply because the defendant touched the other individual and yet it is unlikely that intent to do harm, an aspect of battery could have been proven in a court of law without a reasonable doubt.
The outcomes of this case are argued in favor and against where some state that the ruling required states to reduce minimum mandatory sentencing in petty crimes while others argue that it establishes the federal minimum of petty designation across the states. In general it is true that this ruling was conservative in that the Supreme Court waived the right and desire to strictly rule on the issue of what makes a crime serious enough to warrant a jury trial bunt instead rule that in this particular case, because the defendant was facing the potential of 2 years in jail he was guaranteed a right to a jury trial if he so desired.
The result of this ruling is clearly the development of a system that extends the right of an offering of a trial by jury to any defendant who is facing a sentencing for a crime that would break the 6-month federal rule. The ruling further expands the rights of the accused over the rights of the state to curtail such expenses in cases it deems minor. To some degree the ruling also makes it so sentencing lengths for “minor” crimes be kept in check as if such crimes were allowed to be given sentences of extreme then defendants would much more frequently ask for trial by jury rather than waiving such right and allowing judgment by a single entity or a small group of impartial judges.
Eidelberg, Paul. On the Silence of the Declaration of Independence. Amherst University of Massachusetts Press, 1976.
Rosen, Philip. “Teaching the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in a U.S. Government Course.” Social Studies 81.1 (1990): 19-25.
Supreme Court of the United States Duncan v. Louisiana 391 U.S. 145 May 20, 1968 Decided. April 20, 2008 http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/duncan.html
Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?
- Plagiarism free papers
- Timely delivery
- Any deadline
- Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
- Subject-relevant academic writer
- Adherence to paper instructions
- Ability to tackle bulk assignments
- Reasonable prices
- 24/7 Customer Support
- Get superb grades consistently
Online Academic Help With Different Subjects
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
What discipline/subjects do you deal in?
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
What if I don’t like the paper?
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
- When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
- We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.
In the event that you don’t like your paper:
- The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
- We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
- Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.
Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
What if the paper is plagiarized?
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
When will I get my paper?
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
Will anyone find out that I used your services?
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
How our Assignment Help Service Works
1. Place an order
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
2. Pay for the order
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
3. Track the progress
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
4. Download the paper
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!