Supreme Court rules criminal jury verdicts must be unanimous, overturning decades-old precedent

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that state juries must be unanimous to convict defendants in criminal trials, overturning the Louisiana second-degree murder conviction of Evangelisto Ramos that resulted in a life sentence when a jury found him guilty with a 10-2 vote. The court noted that 48 states — and more importantly federal courts — already required unanimous jury verdicts in criminal cases, with only Lousiana and Oregon holding out by accepting 10-2 decisions. “[T]he Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial is incorporated against the States under the Fourteenth Amendment,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion. “Thus, if the jury trial right requires a unanimous verdict in federal court, it requires no less in state court.”

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