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Benton v. Maryland

United States Supreme Court
395 U.S. 784 (1969)


Benton (defendant) was charged with burglary and larceny and tried before a jury that was selected in accordance with a law of the state of Maryland (plaintiff) that required jurors to swear that they believed in the existence of God. Benton was acquitted of the larceny charge, but convicted of the burglary charge and sentenced to 10 years in prison. After Benton’s conviction, the state’s juror oath law was ruled unconstitutional. Benton was given the opportunity to demand a new indictment and trial. Benton opted for a new indictment and was again charged with both larceny and burglary. At his new trial, Benton was convicted of both charges and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Benton appealed his conviction on double jeopardy grounds and his conviction was upheld through the state courts. Benton petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, J.)

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