Baldwin v. New York 399 U.S. 66 (1970)
BALDWIN v. NEW YORK 399 U.S. 66 (1970)
When duncan v. louisiana extended the sixth amendment ' strialbyjury provision to the states in 1968, the Court said that misdemeanors, crimes punishable by imprisonment for less than six months, may be tried without a jury. Petty offenses have always been exempt from the amendment's guarantee of trial by jury in "all criminal prosecutions." Baldwin, having been sentenced to a year in jail for pickpocketing, claimed on appeal that New York City had deprived him of his right to a trial by jury. The Court held that the Constitution requires a trial by jury if an offense can be punished by imprisonment for more than six months. Justice byron r. white, for a plurality, found decisive the fact that one city alone in the nation denied trial by jury when the possible punishment exceeded six months. Justices hugo l. black and william o. douglas, concurring separately, would have ruled that the Constitution requires a jury for all accused persons without exception.
Leonard W. Levy