Public to decide fate of Louisiana's Jim Crow-era jury law

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Voters will decide whether Louisiana gets rid of a Jim Crow-era law that lets divided juries settle criminal cases.

The Senate gave final passage to the constitutional amendment with a 28-7 vote Tuesday, sending the proposal to a public vote in November.

Currently, serious felony trials, including some murder cases, can be decided when 10 out of 12 jurors agree on a person's guilt. Oregon is the only other state in the country to allow split-jury decisions, though that state requires unanimity in murder cases.

Sen. J.P. Morrell says his measure would end a policy rooted in a time when lawmakers were trying to maintain white supremacy.

The proposal was once a long shot in the statehouse but picked up steam as conservatives backed the bill.

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Senate Bill 243: www.legis.la.gov

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