339 US 258 Morford v. United States

339 U.S. 258

70 S.Ct. 586

94 L.Ed. 815


No. 236.

Distributed Oct. 9, 1949.

Decided April 10, 1950.

Messrs David Rein, Washington, D.C., Abraham J. Isserman, Los Angeles, Cal., Joseph Forer, Washington, D.C., for petitioner.

Messrs. Philip B. Perlman, Sol. Gen., Washington, D.C., Alexander M. Campbell, Asst. Atty. Gen., Robert S. Erdahl, Washington, D.C., for the United States.


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In this case the trial court did not permit counsel for petitioner to interrogate prospective government employee jurors upon voir dire examination with specific reference to the possible influence of the 'Loyalty Order,' Executive Order No. 9835, 5 U.S.C.A. § 631 note, on their ability to render a just and impartial verdict. Such questioning was permitted in Dennis v. United States, 339 U.S. 162, 70 S.Ct. 519; see n. 4 of the Court's opinion, Id., 339 U.S. 170—171, 70 S.Ct. 522.


We said in Dennis that 'Preservation of the opportunity to prove actual bias is a guarantee of a defendant's right to an impartial jury.' Id., 339 U.S. 171—172, 70 S.Ct. 523. Since that opportunity was denied in this case, the petition for writ of certiorari is granted and the judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed.


Mr. Justice BLACK and Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER concur in the reversal for the reasons expressed in their opinions in Dennis v. United States, 339 U.S. 162, 70 S.Ct. 519.


Mr. Justice DOUGLAS concurs in the reversal of the judgment. Since, however, counsel requested that all government employees be excluded from the jury in these cases, he thinks the request should have been granted for the reasons stated by the dissenting Justices in Frazier v. United States, 335 U.S. 497, 69 S.Ct. 201, and in Dennis v. United States, 339 U.S. 162, 70 S.Ct. 519.


Mr. Justice CLARK took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.