Jim Crow’s time law allowed jury verdicts to be split. Judges will consider keeping the injured detainees in custody

NEW ORLANE (AP) – The Louisiana Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments as to whether the state constitution, which allows for unanimous jury rulings, is racially motivated, or whether the now-banned policy should be reversed.

The state attorney said the answer to both questions should be no.

“The state’s position is that the 10-2 verdict was not for racial reasons, but for efficiency.” Chief Justice John Weimer asked state attorney Shay McPhee.

“Absolutely,” McPhee replied.

Arguing over a man convicted of murder in 1997, Jamila Johnson says the practice is rooted in Jim Crow’s law of the late 19th century, which allows for 9-3 sentences, making it easier for convicted felons to be convicted. And he said that the racial injustice of the case made the problems with the law “structural”, so it was not possible that the defendant in the particular case was white or that the appeal record was now incomprehensible about the race. The members of the jury who voted to acquit his client in 1997

Darek Hayes, who was photographed on December 10, 2021, was sentenced to life in prison but was released on appeal after being convicted by unanimous jury. (Henrietta Wildsmith / The Times / USA TODAY NETWORK)

The case focuses on Reginald Reddick, who was convicted of murder by a 10-2 vote in 1997 by a jury. A judge in Plakemins, Louisiana, overturned the verdict, and prosecutors appealed.

Johnson մյուս Other lawyers for the Promise of Justice Initiative say the case involves about 1,500 people who were convicted before the US Supreme Court overturned such sentences.

Advocates seeking justice say most of the victims are blacks.

In 2018, Louisiana voters approved a constitutional amendment that prohibits unanimous convictions for crimes committed after January 1, 2019. in the verdicts.

In 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled that unanimous judgments were unconstitutional, extending the impact of the state’s constitutional changes.

However, in 2021 the Supreme Court made it clear that the decision against unanimous judgments applies only to further cases, those cases in which the appeals of the defendants have not been exhausted.

Redik’s case is one of two that stem from a ban on unanimous court hearings on Tuesday.

The other concerns Ronald Gasser, who was convicted of manslaughter by a jury. Gasser was originally charged with the murder of former NFL’s Joe McNight’s soccer star.

His conviction was overturned due to a unanimous verdict. The question before the Supreme Court on Tuesday was whether prosecutors could try him again for the murder. Gasser’s advocates say it poses a double threat, and Jefferson Parish’s prosecutors should limit themselves to prosecuting him for manslaughter. Gasser pleaded not guilty to firing on McNight in self-defense.

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