Bob Talton (defendant), a member of the Cherokee Nation, was arrested for killing two Cherokee Indians on Cherokee land. In criminal proceedings before a Cherokee court, a five-member grand jury indicted Talton for murder. Talton filed a federal habeas corpus petition in the local federal district court. Talton sought to overturn the indictment and to be released from jail. Talton argued that indictment by a five-member grand jury violated the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which requires that indictment be by a greater number of grand jurors. Talton further argued that indictment by a five-member grand jury violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The district court denied Talton’s petition. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.