WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court has ruled juries in state criminal trials must be unanimous to convict a defendant, settling a quirk of constitutional law that had allowed divided votes to result in convictions in Louisiana and Oregon.
The justices’ vote Monday overturned the conviction of a Louisiana man who’s serving a life sentence for killing a woman after a jury voted 10-2 to convict him in 2016.
Oregon is the only other state that allows for non-unanimous convictions for some crimes.
Louisiana voters changed the law for crimes committed beginning in 2019.
Now the same rules will apply in all 50 states and in the federal system: Juries must vote unanimously for conviction.