Non Unanimous Agreement
In Johnson v. Louisiana (a case decided by the Supreme Court on the same day as L`Apodaca), a criminal accused in Louisiana, raised the same question: does a jury of the State Court, less unanimous than unanimous, violate the constitutional rights of an accused?  Frank Johnson was convicted of armed robbery by a Louisiana jury at 9:3, which was authorized by Louisiana law. Unlike Apodaca, where petitioners argued that the practice violated their right to a jury trial (as in the Fourteenth Amendment) , Johnson`s petitioner lifted the same protection and procedural rights applicable to it.  The Louisiana Supreme Court upheld his conviction and found that a 9-3 jury judgment was not contrary to his equal protection or his rights to a proper trial.  Johnson applied to the U.S. Supreme Court for a review. So Ramos is a new rule, the state says, and Edwards can`t fill the high bar needed to show that it`s a “water basin.” The Supreme Court has ruled that a “water-repellent” rule of procedure must be “central to a precise finding of innocence or guilt” in order to overcome a state`s interest in the purpose of its convictions. But there is no evidence, the state says, that non-unanimous judgments “risk putting innocent people behind bars.” Louisiana and Oregon`s relief rates are comparable to those in other states that require unanimous jury judgments – and even lower than some of those states, such as Illinois. Moreover, according to Louisiana, only a fraction of these exonerations in Louisiana and Oregon even concerned non-unanimous judgments. In the 31 years since the Supreme Court`s decision in Teague, according to the state, the judges “refused any invitation to apply a new rule of procedure retroactively. This case shouldn`t be the first. In April, the Ramos Supreme Court in Louisiana ruled that the Sixth Amendment is a right to a unanimous jury, which applies in both federal and regional courts.
Wednesday at Edwards v. Vannoy, the judges will argue over whether inmates whose convictions became final before this decision can now exploit them. Although only two states, Louisiana and Oregon, have not unanimously authorized jury decisions in recent years, these states say that a judgment for inmates could “seriously weigh” on their systems by re-imposing long-standing convictions. The court compared the unanimity of the jurors to the request of 12 juries. In Williams v. Florida, just four years before Apodaca ruled that Florida`s impanel refusal of more than six members for a jury does not violate the accused`s rights to the Sixth Amendment.