Ramos Decision Promotes Equal Justice Under Law

Press Release

Issues

Criminal Justice, Racial Equity


WASHINGTON, DC, April 20, 2020 – Alliance for Justice applauds the Supreme Court’s opinion Monday that ends non-unanimous jury verdicts in Louisiana and Oregon, the only two U.S. states still implementing a decades-old practice steeped in racism and unequal justice. In Ramos v. Louisiana, the Court ruled that the Sixth Amendment requires that juries must come to unanimous decisions in order to convict defendants of serious crimes, even in state courts.

Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron issued the following statement:

“The Ramos ruling is a long overdue and important step toward ensuring fairness and equal justice in our courts. The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution is clear that for a conviction to be fair, all 12 jurors must agree.  The laws overturned today by the Supreme Court, which had allowed convictions based on non-unanimous decisions, were born of overt racism against blacks in Louisiana, and anti-Semitism against Jewish immigrants in Oregon.  They propped up law enforcement practices that have caused the United States to have the highest incarceration rates in the world. In a justice system marred by racial disparity, low-income individuals and people of color too often pay the price.

“When individuals are charged with serious crimes, they have a right to believe their trial will be fair. Today’s ruling finally secures that right for thousands of individuals in Louisiana and Oregon.”