The U.S. Supreme Court kicked off its new term Monday with arguments regarding a 2014 Louisiana murder case that could affect Oregon’s current jury system.
Oregon is currently the only state that still allows non-unanimous jury verdicts for criminal conviction, after Louisiana voted to discontinue the practice earlier this year.
On Monday, the Supreme Court considered the 2014 murder case Ramos v. Louisiana.
The defendant in the case was convicted by a 10-2 jury vote and is serving a life term for killing a prostitute. The defendant was convicted before the state of Louisiana abolished the non-unanimous jury system earlier this year.
The Supreme Court previously decided that while federal trials require a unanimous verdict, states could set their own rules.
NewsChannel 21 spoke Monday with Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel to hear his thoughts about how the Supreme Court’s decision could change Oregon’s legal system.
Hummel said if nothing changes, it’s up to Oregonians to take a stand.
“The Oregon Legislature needs to stand up and refer this matter to a vote of the people,” Hummel said. “You need to decide: Do we want a system in Oregon that is the only state that convicts and acquits people on a less than unanimous verdict? Or do we want to require jury unanimity? So if the Supreme Court doesn’t do it, I hope Oregonians do it.”