(Court composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay III, Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Edwin A. Lombard)
LEON A. CANNIZARO, JR., DISTRICT ATTORNEY, ORLEANS PARISH, DONNA R. ANDRIEU, CHIEF OF APPEALS, IRENA ZAJICKOVA, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY, 619 South White Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70119, COUNSEL FOR THE STATE/APPELLEE RACHEL I. CONNER, 3015 Magazine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70115, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT
Considering the per curiam provided by the district court after our remand, and for the reasons set forth below, the defendant's conviction and sentence is vacated, and the matter is remanded for a new trial.
STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On September 29, 2017, a jury found the defendant guilty of manslaughter. The defendant appealed her conviction and sentence to this Court, arguing that the non-unanimous jury verdict was unconstitutional.
Following the defendant's conviction, the United States Supreme Court determined in Ramos v. Louisiana, 590 U.S. ––––, 140 S.Ct. 1390, 206 L.E.d.2d 583 (2020), that the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial, as incorporated against the States by way of the Fourteenth Amendment, requires a unanimous verdict to convict a defendant of a serious offense. As the defendant's case was pending on direct review, we applied the holding in Ramos. However, because it was unclear from the record whether the jury verdict was, in fact, non-unanimous, we remanded the matter to the district court for resolution of that issue. State v. Fortune, 2019-0868 (La. App. 4 Cir. 8/12/20), 310 So.3d 578.
On remand, the district court issued a per curiam on September 17, 2020, indicating that:
[a]lthough no formal polling of the jury was taken during the sentencing of this matter, and jury slips are not available as part of the record, this Court confirms the representations of both counsel for the defense and the prosecution as found in the sentencing transcript of this Court, that the jury returned a non-unanimous verdict of 10-2. As this matter remains on direct review, and the returned verdict for the serious offense the defendant was ultimately convicted of was non-unanimous, Ramos applies to this matter, and a Motion for New Trial should be granted.
Considering the record before us and the per curiam opinion supplied by the district court, representing that the jury verdict was non-unanimous, the defendant's conviction and sentence is vacated and the matter is remanded for a new trial.
CONVICTION AND SENTENCE VACATED; REMANDED
Chief Judge James F. McKay III
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