JOHNSON V. LOUISIANA, 406 U. S. 356 (1972)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Johnson v. Louisiana, 406 U.S. 356 (1972)

Johnson v. Louisiana

No. 69-5035

Argued March 1, 1971

Reargued January 10, 1972

Decided May 22, 1972

406 U.S. 356


A warrantless arrest for robbery was made of appellant at his home on the basis of identification from photographs, and he was committed by a magistrate. Thereafter he appeared in a lineup, at which he was represented by counsel, and was identified by the victim of another robbery. He was tried for the latter offense before a 12-man jury and convicted by a nine-to-three verdict, as authorized by Louisiana law in cases where the crime is necessarily punishable at hard labor. Other state law provisions require unanimity for five-man jury trials of offenses in which the punishment may be at hard labor and for 12-man jury trials of capital cases. The Louisiana Supreme Court affirmed the conviction, rejecting appellant's challenge to the jury trial provisions as violative of due process and equal protection and his claim that the lineup identification was a forbidden fruit of an invasion of appellant's Fourth Amendment rights. Appellant conceded that, under Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U. S. 145, which was decided after his trial began and which has no retroactive effect, the Sixth Amendment does not apply to his case.


1. The provisions of Louisiana law requiring less than unanimous jury verdicts in criminal cases do not violate the Due Process Clause for failure to satisfy the reasonable doubt standard. Pp. 406 U. S. 359-363.

(a) The mere fact that three jurors vote to acquit does not mean that the nine who vote to convict have ignored their instructions concerning proof beyond a reasonable doubt, or that they do not honestly believe that guilt has been thus proved. Pp. 406 U. S. 360-362.

(b) Want of jury unanimity does not alone establish reasonable doubt. Pp. 406 U. S. 362-363.

2. The Louisiana legal scheme providing for unanimous verdicts in capital and five-man jury cases, but for less than unanimous verdicts otherwise, and which varies the difficulty of proving guilt with the gravity of the offense, was designed to serve the rational purposes of "facilitat[ing], expedit[ing], and reduc[ing] expense in the administration of justice," and does not constitute an invidious classification violative of equal protection. Pp. 406 U. S. 363-365.

Page 406 U. S. 357

3. Since no evidence constituting the fruit of an illegal arrest was used at appellant's trial, the validity of his arrest is not at issue, and the lineup was conducted not by the "exploitation" of the arrest, but under the authority of appellant's commitment by the magistrate, which purged the lineup procedure of any "primary taint." P. 406 U. S. 365.

255 La. 314, 230 So.2d 825, affirmed.

WHITE, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J.,and BLACKMUN, POWELL, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. BLACKMUN, J., post, p. 406 U. S. 365, and POWELL, J., post, p. 406 U. S. 366, filed concurring opinions. DOUGLAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN and MARSHALL, JJ., joined, post, p. 406 U. S. 380. BRENNAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which MARSHALL, J., joined, post, p. 406 U. S. 395. STEWART, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN and MARSHALL, JJ., joined, post, p. 406 U. S. 397. MARSHALL, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN, J., joined, post, p. 406 U. S. 399.

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