Pro Bono Supreme Court Victory
PKS attorney Julie A. Esposito serves as a board member of The Rutherford Institute, a constitutional rights organization at the forefront of securing a major victory for the constitutional rights of the accused from the United States Supreme Court last week.
In a 6-3 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Ramos v. Louisiana that all 50 states must abide by the Sixth Amendment’s requirement of unanimous jury verdicts for convictions in criminal cases involving serious offenses. The case arose after a Louisiana man, Evangelisto Ramos, was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison based on circumstantial evidence that failed to convince all 12 jurors that he was guilty. The Rutherford Institute filed an amicus brief arguing that “Justice should not be contingent on where one lives,” and asking the Supreme Court to prevent the states from watering down the rights of criminal defendants. The organization argued that the right to a unanimous jury in criminal cases dates back to the Magna Carta and should be uniform throughout the United States. Overruling precedent in Apodaca v. Oregon , the Supreme Court ruled that the Sixth Amendment requires that guilty verdicts for criminal trials be unanimous and applicable to all states.
The Firm congratulates Julie and The Rutherford Institute for playing a significant role in this landmark decision.