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Oregon AG tells US Supreme Court many convictions at risk

Oregon is the only state allowing 11-1 or 10-2 jury verdicts in criminal prosecutions.

Posted: Aug 24, 2019 10:50 AM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Oregon's attorney general is telling the U.S. Supreme Court that Oregon's criminal justice system would be "overwhelmed" if the nation's highest court rules that nonunanimous jury verdicts are unconstitutional.

Oregon is the only state allowing 11-1 or 10-2 jury verdicts in criminal prosecutions. Critics say Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is defending a system rooting in racism.

Voters in Louisiana, the only other state that had adopted it, scrapped the provision in 2018, with verdicts after Jan. 1 needing to be unanimous. The Supreme Court will soon hear the case of a Louisiana man who was convicted in 2016 by a nonunanimous jury of second-degree murder.

If the U.S. Supreme Court finds nonunanimous juries unconstitutional, Rosenblum said in a brief filed Friday, it could invalidate hundreds of convictions in Oregon.

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