Ramos v. Louisiana

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: March 18, 2019
  • Case #: 18-5924
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 231 So. 3d 44 (La. App. 4 Cir. 2017)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether the Fourteenth Amendment fully incorporates the Sixth Amendment Guarantee of a unanimous verdict

Petitioner, Ramos, was convicted in a jury trial of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Under Louisiana’s non-unanimous jury verdict law, of an empaneled twelve-member jury, only ten jurors must concur to render a verdict. Petitioner was convicted under this rule by ten jurors. The Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the non-unanimous jury verdict rule, finding that it did not violate the Constitution. The Louisiana Supreme Court denied review. Petitioner argues that the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a unanimous jury verdict should be incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment because of the importance that the Supreme Court places on protecting the guarantees of the Bill of Rights and its rejection of partial incorporation of these guarantees in other instances. Petitioner cites McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010), in which the Supreme Court held that individual rights incorporated by Fourteenth Amendment should be applied using the same standard whether in state or federal court. Further, Petitioner argues that Louisiana’s law should be struck down because its adoption at the 1989 Louisiana Constitutional Convention was part of a strategy to establish white supremacy making the law the exact type that the Fourteenth Amendment was intended to protect against.

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