Avery v. Georgia/Concurrence Frankfurter

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United States Supreme Court

345 U.S. 559

Avery  v.  Georgia

 Argued: April 30, 1953. --- Decided: May 25, 1953

Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER, concurring.

It is undisputed that the drawings here were made from a box containing white and colored slips differentiated according to racial lines, white for white veniremen and yellow for colored. The slips were indiscriminately placed in the box and were drawn from the box by a county court judge. There was testimony from a recent member of the county Board of Jury Commissioners that the use of these white and yellow slips was designed for purposes of racial discrimination, and it has not been shown that they could serve any other purpose. So far as the particular facts of this case are concerned, we may accept the testimony of the judge who drew the slips from the box as to the honesty of his purpose; that testimony does not refute the fact that there were opportunities to discriminate, as experience tells us there will inevitably be when such differentiating slips are used. In this case the opportunities are obvious, partly because the aperture in the box was sufficiently wide to make open to view the color of the slips and partly because of the subsequent use or abuse that could be made of the slips however fairly drawn. However that may be, opportunity for working of a discriminatory system exists whenever the mechanism for jury selection has a component part, such as the slips here, that differentiates between white and colored; such a mechanism certainly cannot be countenanced when a discriminatory result is reached. The stark resulting phenomenon here was that somehow or other, despite the fact that over 5% of the slips were yellow, no Negro got onto the panel of 60 jurors from which Avery's jury was selected. The mind of justice, not merely its eyes, would have to be blind to attribute such an occurrence to mere fortuity.

Accordingly, I concur in the judgment.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).