Blanton v. City of North Las Vegas

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Blanton v. North Las Vegas
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued January 9, 1989
Decided March 6, 1989
Full case nameBlanton et al. v. City of North Las Vegas, Nevada
Citations489 U.S. 538 (more)
109 S. Ct. 1289; 103 L. Ed. 2d 550
Case history
Prior103 Nev. 623, 748 P.2d 494 (1987); cert. granted, 487 U.S. 1203 (1988).
The right to a jury trial is not found in crimes where the maximum period of incarceration is under six months.
Court membership
Chief Justice
William Rehnquist
Associate Justices
William J. Brennan Jr. · Byron White
Thurgood Marshall · Harry Blackmun
John P. Stevens · Sandra Day O'Connor
Antonin Scalia · Anthony Kennedy
Case opinion
MajorityMarshall, joined by unanimous
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. VI

Blanton v. North Las Vegas, 489 U.S. 538 (1989), is a United States Supreme Court case clarifying the limitations of the right to trial by jury.


Melvin R. Blanton was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, his petition for a jury trial was denied and he was instead given a bench trial. Blanton appealed, arguing that his Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury had been violated.

Opinion of the Court[edit]

The Court ruled that Blanton did not have the right to a jury trial because the crime he was charged with was "petty" because it carries a maximum prison term of six months or less; the Court went on to elaborate: "we do find it appropriate to presume for purposes of the Sixth Amendment that society views such an offense as 'petty.' A defendant is entitled to a jury trial in such circumstances only if he can demonstrate that any additional statutory penalties, viewed in conjunction with the maximum authorized period of incarceration, are so severe that they clearly reflect a legislative determination that the offense in question is a 'serious' one."[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Blanton v. City of North Las Vegas, 489 U.S. 538, 543 (1989).

External links[edit]