Court composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Billy H. Ezell and Jonathan W. Perry, Judges.
Chad M. Ikerd, Louisiana Appellate Project, P.O. Box 2125, Lafayette, LA 70502, (225) 806-2936, Attorney for Defendant/Appellant: Ervin Leanard Walker Amanda McCLung, Assistant District Attorney, Tenth Judicial District, P.O. Box Number 838, Natchitoches, LA 71457, (318) 357-2214, Attorney for Appellee: State of Louisiana
Defendant filed a Motion for a Unanimous Jury on August 3, 2018, on the basis that La.Code Crim.P. art. 782(A) and La.Const. art. 1, § 17 were unconstitutional and violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. That motion was denied on August 7, 2018. Defendant was subsequently tried by a jury of twelve, ten of whom concurred in the verdict.
The United States Supreme Court recently held non-unanimous jury verdicts unconstitutional. Ramos v. Louisiana, 590 U.S. ––––, 140 S.Ct. 1390, ––– L.Ed.2d –––– (2020). (Slip Op.). The Supreme Court unambiguously determined that non-unanimous verdicts are not permissible under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the prohibition applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. (590 U.S. ––––, 140 S.Ct. at 1408, Slip Op. at p. 26; see also concurrences by Sotomayor, Kavanaugh, and Thomas, JJ.).1
Further, the opinion recognizes, that its ruling applies to cases pending on direct review. (590 U.S. ––––, 140 S.Ct. at 1407, Slip Op. at 22-23.) Justice Kavanaugh's concurrence states this explicitly. (590 U.S. ––––, 140 S.Ct. at 1419-20, Slip Op. at 15-17.) Such review is in keeping with this state's jurisprudence. See, State v. Ruiz, 06-1755 (La. 4/11/07), 955 So.2d 81. We therefore find the Ramos ruling is applicable and it requires Defendant's conviction by a non-unanimous jury verdict be reversed. Accordingly, the case must be remanded for a new trial.
REVERSED; REMANDED FOR A NEW TRIAL.
1. Each concurrence has it own sequence of page numbers.
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