In an action for personal injuries, removed to a federal court, petitioner, a salesman, demanded a jury trial. He moved to strike out the entire panel, alleging that "mostly business executives or those having the employer's viewpoint are purposely selected on said panel . . . [thus] discriminating against other occupations and classes." The evidence showed that the clerk of the court and the jury commissioner had as a matter of practice excluded from the jury list all persons working for a daily wage. They gave as their reason the fact that such persons, called for jury service, invariably requested to be excused on grounds of financial hardship, and the judge invariably excused them. The clerk's testimony concluded, "and so in order to avoid putting names of people in who I know won't become jurors in the court . . . I do leave them out." After a hearing, at which testimony was taken, the motion was denied. A jury of twelve was chosen; petitioner challenged these jurors, on the same grounds and the challenge was denied. The trial resulted in a verdict for the respondent. Petitioner moved for a new trial, on the same grounds. The court, in denying this motion found that five of the jurors actually serving "belong more closely and intimately with. the working man and the employee class than they do with any other class"; judgment was entered for respondent, which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. On certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States, held, reversed. Prospective jurors must be selected without systematic exclusion of economic or other classes; failure to comply with this requirement is ground for reversal by the Supreme Court, in exercise of its power of supervision over the administration of justice in the federal courts. Thiel v. Southern Pacific Company, (U.S. 1946) 66 S.Ct. 984.
John R. Dykema,
FEDERAL COURTS--JURY SELECTION--EXCLUSION OF WAGE EARNERS,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol45/iss2/12