I do not normally mention politics, but I am happy that the jury reform bill passed. What this means is that Louisiana joined the rest of the nation in requiring unanimous jury verdicts for felony trials. Before this, our state allowed for split jury verdicts–meaning, it only took 10 of 12 jurors to send someone to prison…possibly for the rest of his or her life. Lesser felonies required 5 out of 6. Now, the jury verdict must be unanimous.
Louisiana voters overwhelmingly approved the constitutional amendment. Somewhat surprising was that the Louisiana District Attorney’s Association and many law enforcement organizations were behind the change. I cannot say that the new amendment will make a difference in the majority of jury decisions. They are usually unanimous anyway, or at least have more than just one or two dissenting jurors. Still, if it were my future on the line, I would feel much better with the requirement of a unanimous jury.
This recent article from the Advocate contains more details.