September 26, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. — On October 27, 2016, the ACLU of Louisiana will present a critical panel discussion on the impact of non-unanimous jury verdicts in Louisiana. Louisiana is only one of two states that allow felony convictions by a less-than-unanimous jury vote. This unfair practice arose out of post-Reconstruction racism, and has led to countless wrongful convictions. The panel will discuss the history and effects of non-unanimous verdicts, as well as strategies for restoring the unanimous verdict requirement to Louisiana’s legal system.

“In Louisiana we continue to send people to prison knowing that there remains some doubt about guilt,” said Marjorie Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana.  “This shameful practice has led to false convictions and is tied to a history of slavery and convict leasing.  We cannot pretend to be fair and just while this practice continues.  It’s time to begin a conversation about restoring the unanimous jury verdict to its rightful place in Louisiana law.”  

The panel is co-sponsored by Innocence Project New Orleans, the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP, the LSBA Criminal Law Section, Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Gamma Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

The Shame of Our State: Non-Unanimous Jury Verdicts in Louisiana will be held at 6 p.m. at Southern University Law Center (SULC), 2 Roosevelt Steptoe Dr, Baton Rouge.  

The moderator is Cheryl Mercedes of WAFB Channel 9 News. 

The panelists are:

  • Angela A. Allen-Bell, Associate Professor of Legal Writing & Analysis at Southern University Law Center
  • Calvin Duncan, Program Director for the Light of Justice Project
  • William C. Snowden, Founder of  The Juror Project

This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served starting at 5:30 p.m. One hour of CLE credit will be available (pending approval.) RSVP to