USA - Louisiana. Voters approved constitutional amendment to end non-unanimous jury verdicts

15 July 2019 :

A constitutional amendment to end non-unanimous jury verdicts in Louisiana was approved Tuesday by the state's voters — a victory for a rare alliance of conservative and progressive organizations that got behind the measure to end a practice with roots in post-Civil War racism. The amendment takes effect Jan. 1 and will leave Oregon as the only other state allowing split verdicts. It reverses a Jim Crow-era practice that made it easier to imprison non-whites by allowing as few as 10 members of a 12-member jury to convict defendants in felony cases not involving death sentences. The amendment was pushed through the Louisiana Legislature by Sen. J.P. Morrell, a New Orleans Democrat. It received more than the necessary two-thirds approval in the House and Senate and drew strong support from factions rarely on the same page: On the right, supporters included the Christian conservative Louisiana Family Forum and the Koch Brother's political organization Americans for Prosperity; On the left, supporters included the American Civil Liberties Union and Innocence Project New Orleans. The Louisiana District Attorneys Association stayed neutral, and district attorneys supporting the measure included Hillar Moore III in Baton Rouge, James Stewart in Caddo Parish, Keith Stutes in Lafayette and Paul Connick of Jefferson Parish in suburban New Orleans. New Orleans' district attorney Leon Cannizzaro is staying neutral.


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