Burch v. Louisiana
United States Supreme Court
441 U.S. 130 (1979)
Louisiana law provided that nonpetty criminal offenses punishable by more than six months of incarceration required a trial by a six-member jury, with five votes needed for a conviction. Burch (defendant), an individual, and Wrestle, Inc. (Wrestle) (defendant), a corporation, were convicted of charges brought by the State of Louisiana (plaintiff) after a jury trial for showing two obscene motion pictures. Burch’s conviction was by a 5-1 vote, while Wrestle’s verdict was unanimous. Burch was sentenced to two consecutive seven-month jail terms, which were suspended, and was fined $1,000. Wrestle was fined $600 on each count. The defendants appealed to the Supreme Court of Louisiana, arguing that their convictions by a nonunanimous six-member jury violated the jury-trial rights guaranteed by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The supreme court upheld the convictions, opining that a 5-1 verdict, or 83-percent agreement, was a higher percentage than then the 75-percent requirement previously approved in Johnson v. Louisiana, 406 U.S. 356 (1972), where nine out of 12 votes were needed for a conviction. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 174,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.