Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 16,300+ case briefs...

Williams v. Superior Court

California Supreme Court
781 P.2d 537 (1989)


Edward Williams (defendant) was charged with first-degree murder. The murder occurred in the West Superior Court District of Los Angeles County (West District). The trial was scheduled to be held in the West District’s superior court. During jury selection, Williams moved to quash the jury venire, alleging that it unconstitutionally under-represented the African American population of Los Angeles County. The jury venire is the group of jurors available to sit on a case’s jury panel. The venire is selected from the population of the court district, rather than the entire county. According to the testimony of court staff, 11.4 percent of the eligible Los Angeles County population is African American, and 5.6 of the West District’s eligible population is African American. Williams argued that selecting the venire solely from the West District, rather than the full Los Angeles County, resulted in an unconstitutional underrepresentation of African American jurors. The trial court denied the motion, and Williams appealed. The California Court of Appeal affirmed but held that the analysis of underrepresentation should be focused on the population living within 20 miles of the particular courthouse where the trial is held. Williams then petitioned the California Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Panelli, J.)

Concurrence (Kaufman, J.)

Dissent (Broussard, J.)

What to do next…

  1. 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.

  2. 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 367,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 16,300 briefs, keyed to 223 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.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case? Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial to ask it.