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Mu'Min v. Virginia

United States Supreme Court
500 U.S. 415 (1991)


Facts

Mu’Min (defendant) was convicted of committing murder while out of prison on work detail. Prior to trial, Mu’Min moved for a change of venue and submitted 47 newspaper articles discussing the murder investigation, details about a murder for which Mu’Min had previously been convicted, and other potentially prejudicial information. Prior to trial, Mu’Min moved the court for individual voir dire. The court denied the motion for individual voir dire and decided that initial voir dire would be conducted collectively, followed by questioning in panels of four about issues related to media exposure. Prospective jurors who acknowledged prior media exposure were asked if the prior exposure would affect their ability to rule impartially or to enter the jury without preconceived opinions. Eight members of the final 12 person jury were jurors who acknowledged media exposure but denied that it would affect their ability to remain impartial. Mu’Min was convicted and appealed his conviction through the state courts. The supreme court of the state of Virginia (plaintiff) upheld the conviction. Mu’Min petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review on grounds that the trial judge’s failure to individually question jurors about the specific contents of media reports to which they had been exposed violated Mu’Min’s due process rights and his Sixth Amendment right to trial by an impartial jury.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)

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Dissent (Marshall, J.)

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