AVERY V. GEORGIA, 345 U. S. 559 (1953)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Avery v. Georgia, 345 U.S. 559 (1953)

Avery v. Georgia

No. 648

Argued April 30, 1953

Decided May 25, 1953

345 U.S. 559


Notwithstanding a timely challenge, on the ground of racial discrimination contrary to the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, of the array of petit jurors selected to try his case in a state court, petitioner, a Negro, was convicted of rape. After the names of prospective jurors had been selected by jury commissioners, the names of white persons were printed on white tickets and the names of Negroes on yellow tickets, which were placed together in a jury box. A judge then drew a number of tickets from the box, and he testified, without contradiction, that he had not discriminated in the drawing. The tickets drawn were handed to a sheriff, who entrusted them to a clerk, whose duty it was to "arrange" the tickets and to type in final form the list of persons to be called to serve on the panel. About 60 persons were on the panel from which the jury was selected, and none of them was a Negro, although many Negroes were available for service.

Held: the conviction is reversed. Pp. 345 U. S. 560-563.

(a) On the record in this case, petitioner made a prima facie showing of discrimination in the organization of this particular jury panel. Pp. 345 U. S. 561-562.

(b) Petitioner having proved a prima facie case of discrimination in the selection of the jury, the burden was upon the State to overcome this prima facie case, and it failed to do so. Pp. 345 U. S. 562-563.

209 Ga. 116, 70 S.E.2d 716, reversed. ,

In a Georgia trial court, petitioner was convicted of rape and sentenced to death. The Supreme Court of Georgia affirmed. 209 Ga. 116, 70 S.E.2d 716. This Court granted certiorari. 345 U.S. 903. Reversed, p. 345 U. S. 563.

Page 345 U. S. 560

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