November 6, 2018, introduced main felony justice reform victories throughout the nation, from what’s criminalized to what sentences might be utilized. Maybe the 2 greatest wins had been in Louisiana and Florida: Tuesday marked the demise of Louisiana’s non-unanimous juries, which made wrongful convictions far too straightforward, and the re-enfranchisement of 1.5 million Floridians.
As of January 1, due to Modification 2, all 12 members of 12-member juries in Louisiana should consider in a defendant’s guilt past an affordable doubt to convict. It ought to all the time have been that manner, in fact, however for the second it’s nonetheless true that it solely takes 10 jurors to convict, even in severe felony trials—even in homicide instances.
This non-unanimous jury rule was carried out out of concern that black jurors would make it tougher for in any other case white juries to convict black defendants. In 1898, lawmakers argued precisely that and characterised this as an answer “to determine the supremacy of the white race … to the extent to which it could possibly be legally and constitutionally completed.”
Along with being racist, the non-unanimous jury rule’s additionally only a dangerous rule. Research show unanimity is crucial to justice. Louisiana may use extra of that—at the moment the state boasts the second-highest charge of exoneration within the nation. What makes it all of the extra troubling is that although the general public, each state events, and organizations from everywhere in the political spectrum supported Modification 2, it handed the home by simply one vote over the two-thirds requirement.