The Supreme Court ruled this April in its case, Ramos v. Louisiana, that the US constitution requires unanimous verdicts for felony convictions. Until now, two states (Oregon and Louisiana) did not require a unanimous jury for felony convictions. This ruling highlights the disparity in Oregon’s criminal trials that have been going on for years unchecked.
Taking the ruling into comparison
The way that Oregon has delayed such trial reforms is indicative of a large-scale acceptance of unfair trial practices that may have resulted in countless failed applications of justice. In comparison to the other holdout state, Louisiana represents the second-highest incarceration rate in the country. What this means for those convicted of felony crimes is that the Oregon court system will most likely see a massive influx in post-conviction relief cases. Here’s what you need to know about your rights for post-conviction relief:
- Post-conviction relief is the procedure for a defendant to bring new evidence or call into question new issues in the conviction after the trial judgment.
- The filing time for relief is generally limited. In Oregon, this could be two years from the time the conviction was entered into the court register (if there was no appeal).
- Some post-conviction relief cases are presented on the grounds of new evidence, while others rely on some material legal errors like juror bias or ineffective counsel.
Fighting to get your life back
This Supreme Court ruling presents a unique opportunity for those defendants that the court system failed to seek remedy for their convictions. Oregon has been forced by the nation’s highest court to reckon with its faulty trial procedures already adopted by the rest of the country. If you have a loved one who is serving time for a felony, you should contact an attorney to explore your options for post-conviction relief.