Supreme Court will not reconsider Oregon's non-unanimous jury law
Oregon will be keeping its longstanding non-unanimous convictions law, the nation's highest court has announced.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court said that it would not hear a case from a Lousiana defendant, who had challenged that state's law which does not require unanimous jury decisions for felong criminal convictions.
The case had implications here at home. Only in Oregon and Louisiana can a defendant be convicted of a felony with a 10-to-2 jury vote. All other states and the federal government require a unanimous verdict.
Lawyers for defendant Dale Lambert argued that the court should overturn its previous rulings that Louisiana's and Oregon's non-unanimous jury laws are constitutional. They argued that defendants were deprived of equal protection under the law, and denied the right to have their accusations confirmed by a jury of 12 of their peers,
Lambert was convicted of second-degree murder by a 10-to-2 guilty verdict in connection with the fatal shooting of a man in Louisiana's Orleans Parish on March 22, 2013.
His lawyers supported their petition to the Supreme Court with research by Professor Aliza Kaplan and law student Amy Saack of Portland's Lewis & Clark Law School.
A similar law in Oregon was approved by voters in 1934 and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972.
In aggravated murder cases, jurors must be unanimous in their decision to convict, but can be acquitted with a 10-2 vote.