Louisiana currently allows a conviction without a unanimous jury decision. Constitutional Amendment 2 would end this practice
Today, FWD.us announced its support for Amendment 2, a state constitutional amendment on the ballot this November to require unanimous jury votes on convictions. Louisiana and Oregon are the only states in the nation that allow juries to convict without a 12-0 vote. A recent study of jury trials in Louisiana showed that 40% of convictions were handed down over the dissent of 1 or 2 jurors.
The measure, referred out of Louisiana’s Republican-controlled legislature in 2018, is backed by a broad and bipartisan coalition including VOTE, Louisiana Family Forum, The Juror Project, Vera Institute for Justice, and the Louisiana ACLU. The referendum goes to a vote of the people on November 6.
“Louisiana has the second highest incarceration rate in the nation with alarming rates of both life and death sentences. With penalties like these, the democratic checks made possible by juries should be stronger not weaker,” said FWD.us Criminal Justice Senior Director, Zoë Towns.
This endorsement builds on FWD.us’ support of Louisiana’s comprehensive bipartisan criminal justice reforms in 2017, relinquishing Louisiana’s long-held title as the leading incarcerating state in the nation.
“We were proud to support Louisiana’s historic reforms last year,” said FWD.us President Todd Schulte, “and we’re grateful for the lawmakers and advocates continuing to drive reform forward in a state so desperately in need.”