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Decades of Louisiana Criminal Convictions, Including Those for Violent Acts, Are Before the U.S. Supreme Court in Case to Be Argued by Louisiana Solicitor General Liz Murrill Tomorrow

Louisiana Department of Justice to Present Oral Arguments Tomorrow in Edwards v. Vannoy

BATON ROUGE, LA – Tomorrow, Louisiana Solicitor General Liz Murrill will argue by phone before the United States Supreme Court in Edwards v. Vannoy, a case whose decision could jeopardize thousands of long-final rape, murder, child molestation, and other violent crime convictions.

SG Murrill will present oral arguments in opposition to retroactively applying a recent Supreme Court decision to cases on federal review. On April 20, in 
Ramos v. Louisiana, the nation’s highest court decided that the 6th Amendment requires unanimity in state criminal cases. Edwards is not about the merits of unanimous juries like Ramos; rather, it is about how and when new rules of criminal procedure should be applied to settled cases.

The case before the Supreme Court tomorrow is not about whether unanimity is a good policy,” said SG Murrill. “Louisiana voters agreed that it is and embraced this policy in criminal prosecutions that arose after January 1, 2019.”

“But for nearly 50 years – Louisiana, Oregon, and Puerto Rico expressly relied on Supreme Court precedent approving the use of non-unanimous jury verdicts in state criminal cases,” added SG Murrill. “If 
Ramos were to be applied retroactively, thousands of long-final convictions – whose crimes each have victims – would be unsettled.”

“A retroactive application of the 
Ramos Rule – which applied the unanimity requirement to the states for the first time – would upend long-final convictions involving rape, murder, child molestation, and other violent crimes,” explained SG Murrill. “In the Edwards case, the defendant confessed to rape, armed robbery, and kidnapping; and he was identified as the perpetrator by the robbery victim.”

Oral arguments in Edwards v. Vannoy will be heard on Wednesday, December 2 at 9:00 AM CT and will be
streamed live on C-SPAN. Additional information on the case, including legal filings, may be found here.