McKeiver v. Pennsylvania

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McKeiver v. Pennsylvania
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued December 10, 1970
Decided June 21, 1971
Full case nameMcKeiver v. Pennsylvania
Citations403 U.S. 528 (more)
91 S. Ct. 1976; 29 L. Ed. 2d 647; 1971 U.S. LEXIS 26
A trial by jury is not constitutionally required in the adjudicative phase of a state juvenile court delinquency proceeding.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Warren E. Burger
Associate Justices
Hugo Black · William O. Douglas
John M. Harlan II · William J. Brennan Jr.
Potter Stewart · Byron White
Thurgood Marshall · Harry Blackmun
Case opinions
PluralityBlackmun, joined by Burger, Stewart, White
DissentDouglas, joined by Black, Marshall

McKeiver v. Pennsylvania, 403 U.S. 528 (1971),[1] was a decision of the United States Supreme Court. The Court held that juveniles in juvenile criminal proceedings were not entitled to a jury trial by the Sixth or Fourteenth Amendments. The Court's plurality opinion left the precise reasoning for the decision unclear.[2]


Joseph McKeiver and Edward Terry were teenagers charged with acts of robbery, theft, assault, and escape. Both were denied a request for a jury trial at the Juvenile Court of Philadelphia. A state Superior Court affirmed the order, and, after combining their separate cases in to one case, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the decision stating that there is no constitutional right to a jury trial for juveniles. In similar cases, the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of North Carolina both affirmed the lower court's decision, finding no constitutional requirement for a jury trial for juvenile defendants.[3]

Decision of the Supreme Court[edit]

Although the right to a jury trial is not guaranteed by the U.S Constitution in these cases, states may, and some do, employ jury trials in juvenile proceedings if they wish to do so. Kansas is the first state in the U.S. to articulate that the right should be extended to juveniles as a matter of right under its State Constitution.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b McKeiver v. Pennsylvania, 403 U.S. 528 (1971).
  2. ^ See In re L.M., 2008 Kan. LEXIS 328 (Kan. June 20, 2008) (briefs for the case can be viewed at
  3. ^ "McKeiver v. Pennsylvania - 403 U.S. 528 (1971)". Oyez: Chicago-Kent College of Law. Retrieved 26 October 2013.

External links[edit]