- Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
- Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
- Date Filed: 11-18-2020
- Case #: A170610
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Legeson, P.J., for the Court; James, J.; & Kamins, J.
- Full Text Opinion
At trial, Defendant was convicted of various sex crimes by non-unanimous jury verdict. On appeal for the third time, Defendant assigned error to the non-unanimous jury verdict in light of Ramos v. Louisiana, 140 S Ct 1390 (2020). Defendant argued that Ramos rendered the non-unanimous verdict against him unconstitutional. The State argued that Defendant should be precluded from this argument because he did not raise it in his previous two appeal. “There can be no question either that the Sixth Amendment's unanimity requirement applies to state and federal criminal trials equally. This Court has long explained that the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial is ‘fundamental to the American scheme of justice’ and incorporated against the States under the Fourteenth Amendment.” Ramos v. Louisiana, 140 S Ct 1390, 1397-98 (2020) (internal citation omitted). Ramos overturned longstanding precedent and held that the Sixth Amendment, incorporated into the states by the Fourteenth Amendment, requires unanimous jury verdict for criminal convictions; prior to which, the federal requirement of unanimous jury verdicts had not been incorporated into the states. Here, the Court of Appeals found that it would have been “futile” for Defendant to raise in his previous appeals because it would controvert then-established law. Therefore, despite not arguing it in his previous appeals, the Court held that Defendant was not precluded from arguing that the non-unanimous jury verdict violated his constitutional rights because Ramos signaled such a significant change in the law. Reversed.