Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops Endorses Amendment 2 for Unanimous Juries
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: October 8, 2018
"Justice must always dictate a true legal construct and as St. Augustine has proclaimed, 'an unjust law is no law at all.'"
Baton Rouge, La. - On October 4, The Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops formally endorsed Constitutional Amendment 2, which proposes to require unanimous jury verdicts in all felony trials in Louisiana.
The endorsement, seen here in The Advocate, is the latest in a wave of bipartisan support for Amendment 2.
In a statement, the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops said, "The unanimity of a jury does not simply ensure that the legal standard of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ has been met, but it also brings our legal system into much closer accord with the cardinal virtues of prudence and justice."
The Catholic Bishops join other faith leaders of Louisiana, who released a letter of support for Amendment 2 last week, in supporting unanimous jury verdicts in felony trials.
"Justice must always dictate a true legal construct and as St. Augustine has proclaimed, 'an unjust law is no law at all.' The time is indeed ripe to right Louisiana's history on this issue and to re‐institute unanimous juries on November 6th," the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops concluded in its statement.
The Unanimous Jury Coalition is a group of community-focused organizations working on voter education and registration across the state leading up to the November election. It will conduct a robust statewide effort to inform voters about Constitutional Amendment 2.
Bipartisan support for the ballot initiative formed after Louisiana lawmakers were presented evidence indicating more than forty percent of all those who have been recently exonerated were (mistakenly) found guilty by non-unanimous juries. Louisiana's outlier status - only Oregon has similar jury procedures - also persuaded lawmakers to bring the issue to a vote of the people. In 48 other states, all jurors must agree on whether a prosecutor has met the burden of proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Louisiana is the only state where someone can be sentenced to life in prison without parole without an unanimous decision of a jury in favor of a guilty verdict.
For more information, visit www.UnanimousJury.org.