Coalition Formed to Push Voters to Support Unanimous Jury Verdict
A statewide coalition has been formed to educate voters about constitutional amendment number two on the November sixth ballot. It would require that felony convictions must be reached with a unanimous jury, instead of the current standard that requires 10 of 12 jurists to agree on a guilty verdict.
Alexandria attorney Ed Tarpley is leading the effort.
"We've had endured a jury trial system which bore no resemblance to the jury which James Madison, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson placed into the constitution," said Tarpley.
Louisiana is one of two states, where a person can be convicted of a murder if 10 of the 12 jurors agree on a defendant's guilt. Tarpley says the current law was passed during the post-civil war reconstruction era, in an effort to deprive blacks the ability to have a jury of their peers.
"The history of this law is why people labored in ignorance for so long, once you know the history you have to vote to repeal this," said Tarpley.
The coalition consists of conservative and religious groups to liberal activists.
No major organizations have announced their opposition to the amendment.