Louisiana is one of only two states in the nation where you can be convicted of a felony – and sent to jail for life – without the unanimous consent of a jury. Louisiana requires only 10 of 12 jurors to agree on guilt in felony cases, which means that even if two members of a jury are convinced of your innocence, you can still be convicted and put behind bars for life.
This unjust rule dates back to 1898, when white supremacists at Louisiana’s constitutional convention wanted to increase the supply of free prison labor and nullify the voting power of black jurors. Their solution was to make it easier to convict people of felonies by ending the requirement that jury verdicts be unanimous.
One of the fundamental pillars of our legal system is that you can't be denied your freedom without proof that demonstrates your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. For more than 100 years Louisiana has denied defendants that fundamental right – with disastrous consequences.
A report by The Advocate found that “although the majority-verdict law disadvantages all defendants...its effects on black people accused of crimes are especially profound.” Black defendants were more likely than white defendants to be convicted over the objections of jury members.
The Louisiana Unanimous Jury Verdict for Felony Trials Amendment:
“Do you support an amendment to require a unanimous jury verdict in all noncapital felony cases for offenses that are committed on or after January 1, 2019.”
For more information or to get involved in the YES on 2 campaign, visit https://www.unanimousjury.org/