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Does a conviction require a unanimous jury vote?

On Behalf of | Dec 31, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

One of the constitutional rights of individuals in North Carolina and the rest of the United States is the right to a trial by jury. This is an important right because an individual is considered innocent until he or she is proven guilty by a court of law. The Supreme Court has made changes to the law to require a unanimous jury vote to give a conviction.

Non-unanimous juries

In April 2020, only two states allowed for prisoners to receive a conviction with a non-unanimous jury. Those two states were Louisiana and Oregon. There are over 1,600 prisoners in Louisiana alone who have a non-unanimous conviction, which is now considered unconstitutional.

Supreme Court decisions

The Supreme Court decided in April 2020 that every state across the country has to have a unanimous jury vote to give a conviction. This followed a Supreme Court decision in 1989, in the Teague vs. Lane case, in which the fairness of retroactively applying rulings was assessed. This means that the 2020 ruling by the Supreme Court should apply retroactively to individuals with a criminal conviction from a non-unanimous jury. This is a huge step for criminal law.

Getting legal representation in a criminal defense case

Criminal defense is an important area of law in that it can assist individuals who are facing a criminal trial to protect their constitutional rights. You may want to contact a lawyer as soon as possible if you face criminal charges. Your lawyer may help ensure that your constitutional rights are protected, including the right to not receive a conviction unless the jury vote is unanimous.

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