BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana would shed its status as one of two states that don’t require unanimous juries in felony cases, under a proposal that won Senate support.
Lawmakers approved Sen. J.P. Morrell’s constitutional amendment by a 27-10 vote Wednesday, sending it to the House. It cleared the Senate with one vote more than the two-thirds needed to pass.
Currently, felony trials in Louisiana can be decided when 10 of 12 jurors agree on a person’s guilt. Only Louisiana and Oregon allow felony cases to be settled by a split verdict.
Morrell, a New Orleans Democrat, says the non-unanimous jury policy began to minimize power of African-American jurors and maintain white supremacy in Louisiana.
If successful in the House, the change would go before voters in the fall.
Senate Bill 243: www.legis.la.gov