Louisiana takes aim at Jim Crow-era jury law
BATON ROUGE, La. - Louisiana is one of just two states allowing juries that are not unanimous to still find a defendant guilty of a felony.
Sen. J.P. Morrell wants to change that. He says split juries are a remnant of the Jim Crow era and a result of longstanding efforts to maintain white supremacy after the Civil War.
The New Orleans Democrat has proposed a constitutional amendment to require unanimous verdicts in felony cases.
Critics of divided juries say they results in unfair verdicts, especially against black defendants.
The measure is gaining steam in the state Capitol. The proposal has passed in the Senate and awaits debate in the House. If the Legislature approves the measure, it will go on a ballot for voter approval this fall.
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