Bid To Strike Jim Crow-Era Jury Law Advances In State House

 

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana is a step closer to striking a Jim Crow-era law that allows divided juries to settle felony criminal trials.

The House criminal justice committee voted without objection Wednesday to advance a constitutional amendment to require unanimous verdicts in serious felony cases.

Currently, felony trials in Louisiana can be decided when 10 of 12 jurors agree on a person's guilt. Sen. J.P. Morrell says his bill would rid the state of a policy written into its constitution at a time when lawmakers were trying to maintain white supremacy.

Opponents argued it's hard to get 12 people to agree and the law's roots don't matter.

The Senate has backed the change. If successful in the full House, the proposal would go before voters in the fall.

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Senate Bill 243: www.legis.la.gov

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