Louisiana Law Enforcement Officials Endorse Unanimous Jury Amendment
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: September 19, 2018
These endorsements are part of the growing, widespread, bipartisan support for Constitutional Amendment 2 since it passed the Louisiana Legislature.
New Orleans - Today, the Unanimous Jury Coalition announced endorsements from six current and former law enforcement officials from across Louisiana for Constitutional Amendment 2, which would require unanimous jury verdicts for all felony cases. The amendment will appear before Louisiana voters in November.
The endorsements announced today include:
Craig Webre, Lafourche Parish Sheriff: "The Founding Fathers believed that the unanimous jury decision was essential to the protection of justice in America. I agree with them, so I support Constitutional Amendment 2."
Kenneth Polite Jr., Former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana: "Jury unanimity is a standard met each and every day by prosecutors in 48 states and in our federal system. Louisiana has some of the best prosecutors in the country, and I am confident that their pursuit of justice will be undaunted by this standard. To the contrary, it will improve public trust in their work and our state’s criminal justice system as a whole."
Tim Lentz, Covington Chief of Police: "As a lifelong law enforcement officer, and after consulting with people whom I respect from the Bench, the time has come to make this important change. It is time Louisiana followed the 48 other states that require unanimous juries.”
Bryan Zeringue, Thibodaux Chief of Police: “The founding fathers built our criminal justice system on the promise of 12 jurors agreeing on a verdict. It is time to respect our traditions and follow through on that promise.”
Tim Hitt, Former Police Corporal in Monroe: "During my career in law enforcement, I dedicated myself to protecting and serving my community. That means standing up for measures I believe would make our justice system work better-- including Constitutional Amendment 2."
David Brown, Former Assistant City Prosecutor in Baton Rouge: "As a former prosecutor, I know that the community's trust in the criminal justice system is an essential element to a properly functioning system. Because Constitutional Amendment 2 would help buttress that trust in law enforcement and increase fairness overall, I wholeheartedly support it."
Constitutional Amendment 2 has also been endorsed by the Louisiana Republican Party, Americans for Prosperity, Louisiana Family Forum, former district attorney Ed Tarpley and singer-songwriter John Legend. Louisiana voters will decide the fate of Constitutional Amendment 2 on November 6.
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.