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Mon May 17, 2021, 01:19 PM

High court won't make unanimous jury requirement retroactive

Source: Washington Post

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that prisoners who were convicted by non-unanimous juries before the high court barred the practice a year ago don’t need to be retried. The justices ruled 6-3 along conservative-liberal lines that prisoners whose cases had concluded before the justices’ 2020 ruling shouldn’t benefit from it. The decision affects prisoners who were convicted in Louisiana and Oregon as well as the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, the few places that had allowed criminal convictions based on divided jury votes.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote for the conservative majority that the court’s “well-settled retroactivity doctrine” led to the conclusion that the decision doesn’t apply retroactively. The decision “tracks the Court’s many longstanding precedents on retroactivity,” he wrote. In a dissent joined by her two liberal colleagues, Justice Elena Kagan wrote that as a result of the ruling, “For the first time in many decades ... those convicted under rules found not to produce fair and reliable verdicts will be left without recourse in federal courts.”

During arguments in the case in December, which were held by phone because of the coronavirus pandemic, the justices were told that ruling in favor of the prisoners could mean retrials for 1,000 to 1,600 people in Louisiana alone. States and the Trump administration had urged the court not to give more prisoners the benefit of the ruling, saying doing so would be “massively disruptive” in both Louisiana and Oregon and might mean “the release of violent offenders who cannot practically be retried.”

As a result of the high court’s 2020 ruling, juries everywhere must vote unanimously to convict. But that decision affected only future cases and cases in which the defendants were still appealing their convictions when the high court ruled. The question the high court was answering in the current case was whether the decision should be made retroactive to cases that were final before the ruling. During arguments, several justices noted the very high bar past cases have set to making similar new rules retroactive.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/high-court-wont-make-unanimous-jury-requirement-retroactive/2021/05/17/6b4c3e2a-b71d-11eb-bc4a-62849cf6cca9_story.html



From SCOTUSBlog - this is a 6th Amendment case -




TEXT

SCOTUSblog
@SCOTUSblog
SCOTUS rules that last year's decision in Ramos v. Louisiana (which said the Sixth Amendment establishes a right to a unanimous jury in both federal and state courts) does NOT apply retroactively to convictions that became final before the Ramos decision. https://supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/19-5807_086c.pdf
10:01 AM · May 17, 2021

15 replies, 1540 views

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Mon May 17, 2021, 01:57 PM

1. So when I read something like this, it is yet another reminder of the false justice promoted by

Last edited Mon May 17, 2021, 06:29 PM - Edit history (1)

authoritarians everywhere like the foundation set by St. Augustine. If we kill and harm some innocent in the pursuit of punishing the guilty, it is ok, they will go to heaven anyway. So hollow.

Those thoughts are followed by the, to me, hidden belief. Those are mostly poor and POC victims, let them stay in jail. Not even a review of people who are currently incarcerated.


Edit: typo sp, priomoted to promoted

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Response to ShazamIam (Reply #1)

Mon May 17, 2021, 06:05 PM

4. Worth noting that the states can still implement some kind of procedure to revisit these cases.

The Supreme Court decision does not prevent new trials for these people, it merely does not require them. As the article says, there are now movements in the states to support this, we'll see.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Mon May 17, 2021, 04:42 PM

2. I can kind of understand it as it would literally overwhelm the court system if that was required.

Sucks for those in prison but hopefully if they are innocent they can find other avenues of appeal to win their freedom.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #2)

Mon May 17, 2021, 06:12 PM

5. It is indeed complicated. If the crime occurred many years ago...

...witnesses could have passed away by now, or have fading memories... physical evidence may be gone... "beyond reasonable doubt" becomes that much harder to prove with the passage of time. As the article points out, advocates for the other side feared “the release of violent offenders who cannot practically be retried.” But as I posted above, the states still have the option of providing new trials, the decision does not prohibit it. Hopefully they will find some reasonable way to deal with it on a case by case basis. Though things decided "case by case" can have an annoying habit of being decided one way or the other based on someone's skin color.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Mon May 17, 2021, 05:59 PM

3. A signal they are moving on from precedent

We should be very afraid

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #3)

Tue May 18, 2021, 08:45 AM

7. What precedent are you thinking of?

The Ramos decision of a year ago was the break from precedent (to require unanimous juries).

The current decision to not make that ruling retroactive was closer to existing precedent. Precedent that had previously been supported by two of the three dissenting justices in this case.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Mon May 17, 2021, 07:44 PM

6. The most interesting thing is one of last lines...............

"As a result of the high court’s 2020 ruling, juries everywhere must vote unanimously to convict".

So until the last year, a criminal jury didn’t have to be unanimous. Now it does have to be unanimous to convict.

Just where the hell are you gonna be able to assemble a jury that doesn’t have at least one TrumpHumping Republican Juror out of the 74+ Million of them out there????????

All my optimism just went out the window, that we will EVER get any justice whatsoever for all that has been done…..
I’m thinking about Trump, His Spawn, Republican Senators, and the entire cabinet and administration…….and how about ANY of the insurrectionists??????????



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Response to DENVERPOPS (Reply #6)

Tue May 18, 2021, 10:21 AM

8. Most states require unanimous verdicts.

Only a few didn't, specifically Oregon, Louisiana and Puerto Rico.

Trump will never be convicted of anything. Prosecutors won't be allowed to ask potential jurors who they voted for. A shitload of news and analysis articles will be written about the political makeup of any potential jury. There'd be a shit-ton of talk and papers written about political revenge seeking, and biased punishment of your political adversaries. People would be calling us a banana republic like Russia that imprisons the political opposition. Trump would talk about how he's trying to avoid being poisoned by Democrats who are out to get him by any means necessary.

It would be an absolute goat rodeo.

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Response to Calista241 (Reply #8)

Tue May 18, 2021, 03:03 PM

13. Thx Calista NC

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Tue May 18, 2021, 12:15 PM

9. So is this good or bad?

Link is a paywall, I need to see who the three are in dissent.

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Response to Polybius (Reply #9)

Tue May 18, 2021, 12:24 PM

10. Meant to add a link to the ruling

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/20743444-edwards-v-vannoy

The only summary mention in the OP article was this -

In a dissent joined by her two liberal colleagues, Justice Elena Kagan wrote that as a result of the ruling, “For the first time in many decades ... those convicted under rules found not to produce fair and reliable verdicts will be left without recourse in federal courts.”

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #10)

Tue May 18, 2021, 12:26 PM

11. Ugh, so it's bad

I had a feeling.

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Response to Polybius (Reply #11)

Tue May 18, 2021, 12:36 PM

12. Well it seems they refused to follow past precedent

involving 6th Amendment cases being retroactive. However I think some have said that anyone who was already "in the process" of appeals, could still go forward and/or they can try a different avenue of appeal.

The ruling supposedly applies to any cases that hadn't been started and going forward, the ruling would apply to new cases.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #12)

Tue May 18, 2021, 09:58 PM

15. That's the allegation, but it doesn't appear to be a particularly strong one

The norm is actually that their rulings are not retroactive. Then there was a period of two or three decades where they would be applied retroactively in some circumstances. Then it has been back to the prior standard for the last three or four decades.

The disagreement appears to center on whether a ruling that only applies to a small number of cases in a couple of states can properly be called a "watershed" decision - particularly when the very ruling that created the "watershed" exception appears to say that few, if any, such changes were likely to come again.

The news here seems more driven by Kavanaugh childishly calling out Kagan and Kagan rising to the challenge.

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Response to Polybius (Reply #11)

Tue May 18, 2021, 03:45 PM

14. Not really

The ruling that most are considering (that juries must be unanimous) was a year ago and had an odd mix of justices in the majority (including Ginsburg and Thomas... Sotomayor and Gorsuch, while Alito and Kagan dissented).

The current ruling isn't really all that significant since almost all states already required a unanimous jury.

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