CRS Annotated Constitution

Fourteenth Amendment -- Table of ContentsPrev | Next

Jury Trials.—Trial by jury in civil trials, unlike the case in criminal trials, has not been deemed essential to due process, and the Fourteenth Amendment has not been held to restrain the States in retaining or abolishing civil juries.67 Thus, abolition of juries in proceedings to enforce liens,68 mandamus69 and quo warranto70 actions, and in eminent domain71 and equity72 proceedings has been approved. States are free to adopt innovations respecting selection and number of jurors. Verdicts rendered by ten out of twelve jurors may be substituted for the requirement of unanimity,73 and petit juries containing eight rather than the conventional number of twelve members may be established.74

Appeals.—If a full and fair trial on the merits is provided, due process does not require a State to provide appellate review.75 But[p.1705]if an appeal is afforded, the State must not so structure it as to arbitrarily deny to some persons the right or privilege available to others.76


67 Walker v. Sauvinet, 92 U.S. 90 (1876) ; New York Central R.R. v. White, 243 U.S. 188, 208 (1917) .
68 Marvin v. Trout, 199 U.S. 212, 226 (1905) .
69 In re Delgado, 140 U.S. 586, 588 (1891) .
70 Wilson v. North Carolina, 169 U.S. 586 (1898) ; Foster v. Kansas, 112 U.S. 201, 206 (1884) .
71 Long Island Water Supply Co. v. Brooklyn, 166 U.S. 685, 694 (1897) .
72 Montana Co. v. St. Louis M. & M. Co., 152 U.S. 160, 171 (1894) .
73 See Jordan v. Massachusetts, 225 U.S. 167, 176 (1912) .
74 See Maxwell v. Dow, 176 U.S. 581, 602 (1900) .
75 Lindsey v. Normet, 405 U.S. 56, 77 (1972) (citing cases).
76 Id. at 74–79 (conditioning appeal in eviction action upon tenant posting bond, with two sureties, in twice the amount of rent expected to accrue pending appeal, is invalid when no similar provision is applied to other cases). Cf. Bankers Life & Casualty Co. v. Crenshaw, 486 U.S. 71 (1988) (assessment of 15% penalty on party who unsuccessfully appeals from money judgment meets rational basis test under equal protection challenge, since it applies to plaintiffs and defendants alike and does not single out one class of appellants).
Fourteenth Amendment -- Table of ContentsPrev | Next