August 21, 2019

Whether the Fourteenth Amendment fully incorporates the Sixth Amendment guarantee of an unanimous verdict in a criminal case.

The State of Louisiana allows criminal defendants to be convicted by a non-unanimous jury. The ACLU’s amicus brief reviews the history of the unanimity requirement established in English common law as inherent in the right to a jury trial. It also examines the historical context of Louisiana’s adoption of the non-unanimous jury verdict during the state’s 1898 constitutional convention, whose avowed purpose was to establish the supremacy of the white race and suppress the civic participation of African Americans in the voting booth and in the jury box.

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