Had he been charged in any other state in America, Kia Stewart would not have been convicted of murder. The jury in his case split 10 to 2, which anywhere else would have resulted in a hung jury and a mistrial.
But in Louisiana, the jury’s 10 to 2 majority was enough, so he spent 10 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
This is because Louisiana is one of only two states in the nation where you can be convicted of a felony, even if some of the jurors think you’re innocent.
Louisiana’s non-unanimous jury rule is a harmful vestige of white supremacy that must be abolished.
It’s a fundamental pillar of our legal system that you can’t be denied your freedom without proof that demonstrates – beyond a reasonable doubt – that you are guilty.
For more than 100 years Louisiana has denied defendants that fundamental right, and with disastrous consequences. People who should have walked free are now sitting behind bars for the rest of their lives.
This unjust rule dates back to 1898, when racists and 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.
Since then, convictions by non-unanimous juries have helped make Louisiana the prison capital of the world.
This is unacceptable, and you can help change it.
Add your name and tell Louisiana legislators to support a Constitutional amendment to restore the right to unanimous juries.
Once lawmakers pass a resolution, the issue would go to the ballot for approval by the voters.
Louisiana voters deserve a chance to stand up for justice and abolish this harmful throwback to white supremacy.