November 4, 2018

WELCOMING LA TO THE 19TH CENTURY:

'Jim Crow's Last Stand' In Louisiana May Fall To Ballot Measure (Debbie Elliot, 11/04/18, NPR Morning Edition)

The split-jury system is a vestige of Louisiana's 1898 constitution, adopted in the period after the Civil War when slavery was abolished.

Henderson says when former Confederates regained power after Reconstruction, they created a system to more easily ensnare free black people.

"They realized the only way we're going to disenfranchise all these African-Americans and be able to get this free labor, you know, we have to devise a way," Henderson says. "And this is what they concocted."

At the time, the state would lease convict labor to private landowners.

Historians and legal scholars say the intent was clear.

"That constitutional convention is really interesting," says Andrea Armstrong, a law professor at Loyola University in New Orleans.

"It put into place a number of measures in order to -- this is a quote from the convention itself -- 'to maintain the supremacy of the white race.'"

Armstrong says the legacy of the non-unanimous jury is evident today in racial disparities in the criminal justice system of Louisiana, which has the second highest incarceration rate in the country.

Posted by at November 4, 2018 4:50 AM

  

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