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Hoyt v. Florida
United States Supreme Court
368 U.S. 57 (1961)
Hoyt (plaintiff) was charged in Florida state court with the second-degree murder of her husband after she beat him with a baseball bat for his alleged infidelity. Florida state law did not require women to serve on juries and allowed women to serve only on a volunteer basis. Consequently, the jury in Hoyt’s criminal trial was all male. The jury rejected her temporary-insanity defense and convicted her of the charges. Hoyt appealed through the state court system, and the Florida Supreme Court upheld her conviction. On appeal to the United States Supreme Court, Hoyt argued that the Florida law making jury service optional for women violated her right to an impartial jury, which is governed by both the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Harlan, J.)
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