Unanimous Verdicts Required In State Criminal Trials

2020

The U.S. Supreme Court decides, 6-3, the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial requires unanimous verdicts in trials for serious crimes in both state and federal courts. Louisiana and Oregon had allowed defendants to be convicted on divided votes. The majority opinion said that those states’ systems allowed white jurors to make the votes of a few African American on juries meaningless. The ruling reverses the 1972 decision that allowed nonunanimous verdicts in state courts.