WASHINGTON, DC – FWD.us Senior Criminal Justice Director Zoë Towns issued the following statement today after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to rule the use of non-unanimous juries as unconstitutional in Ramos v. Louisiana:
“This is a long overdue victory for our democracy, and for the families and communities impacted by these Jim Crow laws. The Supreme Court’s historic ruling delivers new hope to thousands of people who have been convicted by non-unanimous juries and who are still serving time under these convictions. Buttressed by this ruling, we are hopeful that their cases will be reconsidered.”
Today, in Ramos v. Louisiana, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that less-than-unanimous verdicts in state criminal trials are unconstitutional. The Court’s decision affirms the reform efforts of advocates and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to rectify historic injustices in our nation’s criminal justice system.
In November 2018, FWD.us proudly supported Amendment 2, a bipartisan-backed ballot initiative that ended the use of non-unanimous juries in Louisiana. While momentous, that ballot provided no relief or justice to the thousands of Louisianans who had already been convicted by non-unanimous juries. FWD.us is proud to partner with the Louisiana-based advocacy organization Promise of Justice Initiative (PJI), the group that brought the challenge to the Supreme Court. PJI is currently working to identify and fight on behalf of all people convicted in Louisiana prior to the passage of Amendment 2 who remain in prison as a result of an unconstitutional conviction. The Supreme Court’s ruling delivers new hope for those who have been left behind from previous reforms.
To learn more about the next steps for retroactivity, contact email@example.com to connect with representatives from the Promise of Justice Initiative (PJI).