Not all DAs on board with unanimous juries
There’s been growing support for the number two amendment option on the November ballot, but not all District Attorneys are on board with the move to require unanimous jury verdicts in felony cases. Tangipahoa, Livingston, and Helena Parish District Attorney Scott Perrilloux says he’s concerned it would delay justice for victims.
“There’s going to be mistrials and hung juries by a juror that will take an unreasonable position in deliberations and all of that will have to be done again.”
DAs in four of Louisiana’s largest parishes, along with both Republican and Democratic state parties have come out in support of the initiative.
Supporters of the amendment say it’s a law with a dark racist history rooted in Jim Crow era legislation that was designed to keep blacks in bondage despite anti-slavery laws by depriving them of a jury of their peers. Perrilloux says he hasn’t studied the law’s past, but that racially rigging juries is illegal.
“The issue of racial considerations in the selecting of a jury was addressed by the (US) Supreme Court many years ago.”
The constitutionality of non-unanimous juries was upheld by the US Supreme Court.
During the legislative session, Baton Rouge Senator and former prosecutor Dan Claitor came out in support of the amendment saying he knows attorneys would game the system and seek harsher sentences because non-unanimous juries made them easier to try. Perriloux says that’s not true.
“If he did something like that then he was acting unethical and I have never heard that before, or after from any prosecutor or prosecutor’s office about conduct of that such.”
Over two million dollars has been raised for a campaign that supports unanimous juries.
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