Campbell v. Louisiana

LOCATION: The White House

DOCKET NO.: 96-1584
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)
LOWER COURT: Louisiana Supreme Court

CITATION: 523 US 392 (1998)
ARGUED: Jan 20, 1998
DECIDED: Apr 21, 1998

Dmitrc I. Burnes - Argued the cause for the petitioner
Richard I. Ieyoub - Argued the cause for the respondent
Richard P. Ieyoub - for respondent

Facts of the case

erry Campbell, a white man, was indicted for second-degree murder by a grand jury in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana. Campbell moved to quash the indictment by citing a long history of racial discrimination in the selection of grand jury forepersons in Evangeline Parish. No African-American had served as a foreperson for the past 16 years despite the fact twenty percent of the registered voters were black. Campbell claimed such practices violated his Fourteenth Amendment equal protection and due process rights. A Louisiana trial judge denied Campbell's challenge, holding that he lacked standing as a white man complaining about the exclusion of African-Americans from serving as forepersons. The Louisiana Court of Appeal overruled the trial judge and decided Campbell had standing. The Louisiana Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal.


Does the exclusion of other races other than the defendant's violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?

Media for Campbell v. Louisiana

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 20, 1998 in Campbell v. Louisiana

William H. Rehnquist:

We'll hear argument next in Number 96-1584, Terry Campbell v. Louisiana.

Mr. Burnes, we'll hear from you.

Dmitrc I. Burnes:

Chief Justice, and may it please the Court--

Petitioner Terry Campbell has been improperly denied standing to raise the equal protection, due process, and Sixth Amendment fair crosssection objections to the grand jury which indicted him.

Despite the acknowledged and undisputed de facto racial discrimination practiced against African Americans in Evangeline Parish, petitioner was denied the opportunity to object solely because he is white.

The case is about race, and the case is about racial discrimination.

The case is about petitioner's equal protection, due process, and Sixth Amendment claims.

The case is not about gender, retroactive application to other cases, or overturning Hobby.

The facts in the case are simple and undisputed.

Number 1, African Americans were not being selected as grand jury forepersons and number 2, petitioner was prevented from objecting to number 1 solely because he is white.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

Is it true that there's never been a nonwhite foreman in Evangeline County?

Dmitrc I. Burnes:

I would not know past the evidence presented to the trial court.

For the period of evidence presented to the trial court there was never a black selected.

I don't know historically, back through the Louisiana Purchase--

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

But you're saying from the years... what time frame are we talking about that there has been no nonwhite?

Dmitrc I. Burnes:

--A 16-1/2 year time period during which generally there are supposed to be two grand juries selected each year.

One year I believe there was only one grand jury selected, so it was a string of 35 consecutive white grand jury forepersons.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

There's a difference in the way the foreperson is selected in New Orleans, is that right?

Dmitrc I. Burnes:

I believe there is, Your Honor.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

Is the experience any different there?

Dmitrc I. Burnes:

I would not know that.

I haven't looked into that, Your Honor.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

So you don't know whether Evangeline County is unique in Louisiana or represents the general way things are--

Dmitrc I. Burnes:

I would say, Your Honor, that there have been cases brought up in a lot of the parishes in Louisiana, in Sabine Parish, I believe in Lafayette Parish and Lake Charles.

I don't have a list of exactly which parishes, but I know that this has been brought up in a lot of the parishes there.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

--This same issue?

Dmitrc I. Burnes:

The issue of nonselection of whites to the grand jury--

Sandra Day O'Connor:

So apparently other parishes are doing the same thing.

Dmitrc I. Burnes:

--To a greater or lesser extent, yes, sir.

Yes, Your Honor.