Louisiana approves unanimous jury requirement, scrapping Jim Crow-era law
Julia O'Donoghue, November 6, 2018, The Times-Picayune
Louisiana voted Tuesday (Nov. 6) to require unanimous juries for all felony convictions involving crimes that take place after 2018. The voters approved a state constitutional amendment ending a Jim-Crow era law that has dominated the state’s legal system.
“You, now, ladies and gentlemen have ended 138 years of Jim Crow,” said state Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, at a campaign victory party Tuesday night. Morrell sponsored the legislation that resulted in the amendment. “You have fundamentally changed criminal justice in Louisiana.”
Louisiana and Oregon are the only two states that allow juries that aren’t unanimous to send people to prison. Louisiana is the only state in the country where a 12-person jury verdict of 11-1 or 10-2 can result in someone spending the rest of their life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Voters decided Tuesday that should change, endorsing Amendment 2. Unanimous juries will be required for all felony convictions stemming from crimes that take place after 2018