Oregon's law allowing non-unanimous jury verdicts finally is found unconstitutional
For more than 85 years, Oregon was one of only 2 States that allowed a person to be convicted of a serious crime without a unanimous jury. Our law firm has fought against this practice for many years. Finally, the US Supreme Court declared Oregon's law unconstitutional. We celebrate this result.
Oregon's law was based on racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism.During the 1930's, Oregon politics were dominated by the KKK. Despite Oregon's reputation for progressive politics, Oregon has a very dark and shameful past. Racism and xenophobia, and bias against religious minorities, resulted in the adoption of a constitutional amendment that permitted Oregon juries to convict persons of serious crimes by a vote of 10-2 and 11-1. Over the past 20 years, our law firm has challenged this in case after case. We lobbied our elected officials. But it took the US Supreme Court, in Ramos v. Louisiana, to declare Oregon's law unconstitutional.
The US Supreme Court's decision striking down Oregon's racist law required great effort.We were supported by Oregon Governors, past and present, as well as retired judges. Our campaign to overturn Oregon's racist law gained support of amicus briefs filed by a myriad of organizations. We were fortified by the work of Professor Aliza Kaplan and dedicated law students and legal scholars from across the US. Overturning Oregon's unjust law came as the result of a concerted and arduous struggle. We are grateful for the excellent assistance and support we received from newspaper columnists and legal experts. Our victory gives us enormous satisfaction.
Now that Oregon's unjust law has been overturned, no person will be convicted by a non unanimous jurProsecutors will be required to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Dissenting jurors will no longer be ignored and marginalized. All jurors will be respected. Defendants will no longer be convicted based on unconvincing evidence. Defendants who were convicted based on non unanimous juries will be given new trials, if their cases are still under appeal. As a result, our legal system will be strengthened, and the rights of all will be upheld. We are grateful for this victory, and we thank all those whose tireless efforts made this possible.