Duncan convicted of battery in LA, but was denied a jury trial since LA only required it for more serious crimes.
Is the right to trial by jury incorporated under the 14th Amendment?
Because we believe that trial by jury is fundamental to justice, we hold that the 14th Amendment guarantees a right of jury trial in all criminal cases that would fall in federal court under the 6th Amendment guarantee.
Question is whether the right is among those "fundamental principles of liberty and justice which lie at the base of all our civil and political institutions," whether it is basic in our system of jurisprudence, and whether it is "a fundamental right, essential to a fair trial."
Jury trials are safeguards against a biased judge; we don't want the life and liberty of a citizen to be put in the hands of one judge or a group of judges.
(Black and Douglas)
Reemphasizes the view that the 14th Amendment makes the Bill of Rights applicable to the States as a whole (POIC and due process).
States should not be able to experiment with the protections afforded our citizens through the Bill of Rights under the guise of federalism.
I support selective incorporation as an alternative to complete incorporation.