Politics

Felony convictions require unanimous jury verdicts, rules SCOTUS – [highlighting] Oregon & Louisiana

Unanimous verdicts are required under the Constitution, regardless of how many “convictions” have rested on 10-2 or 11-1 votes … Oregonians might like to think they are better in this regard, as they live in a liberal state that talks up human rights. But a closer look shows that the actual practices of the state’s prosecutors bear closer comparison to the Deep South than most would expect. 

Until recently, two US states did not require a unanimous jury verdict to convict defendants at felony criminal trials: Louisiana and Oregon. In both, a “supermajority”—meaning only 10 or more jurors out of 12 voting guilty,—was sufficient to secure a conviction and a long sentence behind bars. If the recent past is an indicator, courts in both Oregon and Louisiana are now going to be swamped with demands for post-conviction relief and retrials … This is entirely the fault of the state legislatures, judicial branches and elected prosecutors who knew that their corner-cutting would likely catch up with them. When taxpayers inevitably get angry at the expense, they should direct their protest toward these parties and demand that steps are taken to divert constitutional crises in the future. It should provide a powerful impetus to lock up fewer people in general.

Original Article (FilterMag):
Felony convictions require unanimous jury verdicts, rules SCOTUS – shaming Oregon and Louisiana
Artwork Fair Use: Cacophony