Trials and Appeals

Trials and Appeals.—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.964 Thus, abolition of juries in proceedings to enforce liens,965 mandamus966 and quo warranto967 actions, and in eminent domain968 and equity969 proceedings has been approved. States are also 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,970 and petit juries containing eight rather than the conventional number of twelve members may be established.971

If a full and fair trial on the merits is provided, due process does not require a State to provide appellate review.972 But 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.973

964 Walker v. Sauvinet, 92 U.S. 90 (1876); New York Central R.R. v. White, 243 U.S. 188, 208 (1917).

965 Marvin v. Trout, 199 U.S. 212, 226 (1905).

966 In re Delgado, 140 U.S. 586, 588 (1891).

967 Wilson v. North Carolina, 169 U.S. 586 (1898); Foster v. Kansas, 112 U.S. 201, 206 (1884).

968 Long Island Water Supply Co. v. Brooklyn, 166 U.S. 685, 694 (1897).

969 Montana Co. v. St. Louis M. & M. Co., 152 U.S. 160, 171 (1894).

970 See Jordan v. Massachusetts, 225 U.S. 167, 176 (1912).

971 See Maxwell v. Dow, 176 U.S. 581, 602 (1900).

972 Lindsey v. Normet, 405 U.S. 56, 77 (1972) (citing cases).

973 405 U.S. 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).

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