Unanimous jury requirement heads to voters

Sen. J.P. Morrell’s bill will give voters a chance to require unanimous jury verdicts for all felony convictions. (Photo: Sarah Gamard)

Paul Braun

After votes in both the House and the Senate this week, a proposed constitutional amendment has cleared the Legislature, and voters will have a chance to repeal a Jim Crow-era law that allows non-unanimous juries in many felony trials.

The bill would no longer allow convictions based on votes by 10 of 12 jurors and would require unanimous verdicts for all felony convictions. It was originally opposed by the state’s powerful district attorneys but gained bipartisan support as it moved through the Legislature.

Louisiana and Oregon are the only two states that allow non-unanimous verdicts in jury trials.

Before the Senate voted 28-7 on Tuesday to accept the amendments made by the House, Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans and the author of the bill, thanked his fellow legislators for the bipartisan support.

Read the full story in KALB.

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