Puerto Rico's Supreme Court: Not guilty verdicts must be unanimous
Puerto Rico's Supreme Court ruled Thursday that not guilty verdicts in criminal cases must be unanimous, AP reports.
Why it matters: The U.S. territory has allowed a minimum of nine out of 12 jurors for not guilty verdicts for nearly seven decades.
What they're saying: The majority of judges in the court said in their decision that not guilty verdicts should require the same unanimity mandated for guilty verdicts.
- The two dissenters countered by arguing that a defendant is presumed innocent until the state proves them guilty. One also accused his colleagues of distortion, per AP.
The big picture: The 5-2 decision is the result of a 2016 case that involved a Puerto Rican man accused of first-degree murder, and comes more than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that jury verdicts must be unanimous to convict defendants in criminal trials.
- Louisiana, Oregon and Puerto Rico had not required unanimity for convictions until the high court's ruling.