On This Date in Legal History

In 1951 an all-Anglo grand jury indicted Pete Hernandez for murder in Jackson County, Texas, and then an all-Anglo petit jury found him guilty. Hernandez was of Mexican descent, so his attorneys attempted to quash both the indictment and jury because the County systematically excluded Mexican Americans from serving as jury commissioners, grand jurors, and petit jurors. The question presented was– did Jackson County deny Hernandez equal protection under the 14th Amendment when they systematically excluded Mexican Americans from their jury pool?  On May 3, 1954, the United States Supreme Court (unanimously) said that they did.

Pete Hernandez with his attorneys.

Pete Hernandez with his attorneys.

Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote–“it taxes our credulity to say that mere chance resulted in there being no members of this [Mexican descent] class among the over six thousand jurors called in the past 25 years. The result bespeaks discrimination, whether or not it was a conscious decision on the part of any individual jury commissioner.”

About Tina Nelson
Tina Nelson

Tina Nelson is an attorney and mom. She created the LAWSUIT™ board game to teach her three children about the law. The game was an instant success. Copyrights and a patent were obtained, and Professional Games, Inc. was born. Professional Games, Inc. created this blog to educate and keep its friends and customers regularly updated about our American legal system.
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