On April 20, 2020 in Ramos v. Louisiana, the U.S. Supreme Court held that less-than-unanimous verdicts in state criminal trials violate the Constitution. In a 6-3 opinion by Justice Gorsuch released today, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Ramos v. Louisiana, held that the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial, as incorporated against the states, requires a unanimous verdict to convict a defendant of a serious offence.
In November 2018, Louisiana citizens voted to amend the state constitution to require unanimous jury verdicts moving forward. This was a result of a proposed constitutional amendment brought to the state Legislature by LACDL and partners through the Unanimous Jury Coalition, including the Promise of Justice Initiative, Voice of the Experienced, Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU of Louisiana, Capital Appeals Project, and so many others. LACDL is eternally grateful to former Senator J.P. Morrell for carrying the torch of this legislation.
The Ramos v. Louisiana ruling brings hope to thousands in Louisiana who were wrongfully convicted by non-unanimous juries. Evidence shows that when a unanimous decision is required, jurors evaluate evidence more thoroughly, spend more time deliberating, and are more likely to consider all viewpoints. It is our intent to continue fighting for true fairness by working to address the retroactivity of this ruling.
LACDL is working to organize a CLE/webinar to discuss the implications of Ramos v. Louisiana.
- LACDL Press Release re Ramos v. Louisiana Decision
- Ramos v. Louisiana info with Supreme Court
- USSC Ruling re Ramos v. Louisiana