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Date: 08-01-2020

Case Style:

State of Louisiana v. Willie Dewayne Lynn

Case Number: 53,189-KA

Judge: Felicia Toney Williams

Court: COURT OF APPEAL SECOND CIRCUIT STATE OF LOUISIANA

Plaintiff's Attorney: JAMES E. STEWART, SR.
District Attorney
TRENEISHA J. HILL
CHARLES K. PARR
JASON W. WALTMAN
Assistant District Attorneys

Defendant's Attorney:

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Description:














On April 20, 2020, while
this defendantís writ application was pending in the Louisiana Supreme
Court, the United States Supreme Court rendered its decision in Ramos v.
Louisiana, supra, holding that the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial, as
incorporated by the 14th Amendment, requires a unanimous verdict to
convict a defendant of a serious offense in both federal and state courts. The
Court concluded, ďThere can be no question either that the Sixth
Amendmentís unanimity requirement applies to state and federal trials
equally[.] So if the Sixth Amendmentís right to a jury trial requires a
unanimous verdict to support a conviction in federal court, it requires no less
in state court.Ē Ramos v. Louisiana, 140 S. Ct. at 1397. Thus, according to
Ramos v. Louisiana, supra, the State of Louisiana must grant a new trial to
all defendants who were convicted of serious offenses by non-unanimous
juries and whose cases are still pending on direct appeal.3

2 Ramos v. Louisiana, 139 S. Ct. 1318, 203 L. Ed. 2d 563 (2019).
3 We further note that an amendment to Louisiana Constitution art. I, ß 17 was
approved by voters in a statewide election in November 2018. That section now
provides, in pertinent part:
A criminal case in which the punishment may be capital shall be tried
before a jury of twelve persons, all of whom must concur to render a
verdict. A case for an offense committed prior to January 1, 2019, in
which the punishment is necessarily confinement at hard labor shall be
tried before a jury of twelve persons, ten of whom must concur to render a
verdict. A case for an offense committed on or after January 1, 2019, in
which the punishment is necessarily confinement at hard labor shall be
3
In the instant case, as stated above, the jury was not unanimous in
finding the defendant guilty of the serious offense of attempted second
degree murder. The jury was polled revealing a vote of 11-1. Additionally,
we note that the issue was not raised in the trial court and, thus, not
preserved for appellate review. However, we recognize this error as patent
on the face of the record. State v. Lynn, supra. Therefore, in light of the
United States Supreme Courtís ruling in Ramos v. Louisiana, supra, and the
fact that this matter is on direct appeal, we hereby reverse the defendantís
conviction for attempted second degree murder, and vacate the sentence
imposed. Accordingly, the defendant is entitled to a new trial.

Outcome: For the foregoing reasons, the defendantís conviction is hereby
reversed and the sentence is vacated. The matter is remanded to the trial
court for further proceedings.

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