Jeff Landry isn’t in favor of Louisiana requiring unanimous jury convictions

Attorney General Jeff Landry, the state’s top law enforcement officer, has broken with several conservative leaders and the state Republican Party by not backing a constitutional amendment appearing on the ballot Nov. 6 that would require unanimous juries for convictions in Louisiana.

Landry’s political team confirmed that the Republican would prefer to keep the current system — in which a 10-2 jury verdict can be used to send a person to prison. Only one other state, Oregon, allows convictions by juries that aren’t unanimous and Louisiana is the only place where a person can be sent to prison for murder — which is typically a life sentence — without a unanimous jury.

Louisiana originally required unanimous juries, but changed its law in the late 19th century with an eye toward disenfranchising African Americans. Black people had recently gotten the right to vote — and therefore the right to sit on juries — when this law to marginalize minorities on juries was passed. White supremacists pushed for the change…

 

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