Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hernandez v. Texas

Hernandez v. Texas, 347 U.S. 475 (1954), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case that decided that Mexican Americans and all other racial groups in the United States had equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Pedro Hernandez, a Mexican agricultural worker, was convicted for the murder of Joe Espinosa. Hernandez's legal team set out to demonstrate that the jury could not be impartial unless members of non-Caucasian races were allowed on the jury-selecting committees; no Mexican American had been on a jury for more than 25 years in the Texas county in which the case was tried. Hernandez and his lawyers appealed to the Texas Supreme court, and appealed again to the United States Supreme Court. The legal team included Gustavo C. Garcia, Carlos Cadena, James DeAnda, Cris Aldrete, and John J. Herrera.
Chief Justice Earl Warren and the rest of the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of Hernandez, and required he be retried with a jury composed without regard to ethnicity. The Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment protects those beyond the racial classes of white or negro, and extends to other racial groups, such as Mexican American in this case.
The ruling was yet another step forward in the American Civil Rights Movement and another hit to racial segregation in the USA. This time, racial minorities other than African Americans benefited from such a ruling. The ultimate impact of this ruling was that now all racial groups of the United States were protected under the 14th Amendment.

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