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A Louisiana man whose conviction was overturned in a Supreme Court ruling against split juries found not guilty at new trial

A Louisiana man whose murder conviction was thrown out after the Supreme Court ruled that verdicts for serious crimes must be unanimous has been found not guilty in his second trial.

The New Orleans jury’s verdict Wednesday was unanimous, acquitting Evangelisto Ramos, 50.

Jubilant defense attorney Sarah Chervinsky said the jury’s verdict, which was reached after less than four hours of deliberation, was another rebuttal to the Jim Crow-era system designed to maintain white supremacy in Louisiana .

Evangelisto Ramos.
Evangelisto Ramos.Courtesy of Chervinsky Law

Chervinsky told reporters, “This verdict lives up to Evangelisto Ramos’ legacy not only as a symbol for ending unconstitutional Jim Crow juries, but also as a symbol for the countless others who have been wrongly convicted by an unjust system.” ordained.”

In an interview Thursday with NBC News while driving to pick up Ramos from the Orleans Justice Center, Chervinsky said his client has been behind bars since he was arrested in February 2015.

“The best I can describe his reaction after the verdict is that he has finally found peace,” she said. “It has been a long and grueling journey.”

Ramos was born in Honduras, but spent most of his adult life in New Orleans. Chervinsky said, “He is in contact with his family in both places and is talking about what he plans to do with the rest of his life.”

Ramos was convicted of second-degree murder in 2016 for the murder two years earlier of a woman whose body was found in a municipal trash can.

In Ramos’ first trial, the jury split 10-2 and sentenced him to life imprisonment. At the time, it would have resulted in a mistrial in 48 other states outside of Louisiana and Oregon.

Ramos’ attorneys took their case to the Supreme Court, which ruled in a 6–3 vote in 2020 that the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial requires a unanimous verdict.

The Supreme Court ruling came two years after Louisiana changed its law to require a unanimous decision. But while it outlawed non-unanimous verdicts in the state, the new Louisiana law did not overturn previous split-jury convictions like Ramos’.

So Ramos remained behind bars while awaiting a new trial, Chervinsky said.

Ramos’ second trial ended Wednesday after three days of testimony, in which all 12 jurors agreed that Orleans Parish prosecutors failed to prove that the Honduran immigrant killed Trenice Feddison in 2014. Chervinsky said.

Improvement (March 9th, 2023, 3:55PM ET): A previous version of this article misstated the year of Evangelisto Ramos’ arrest. It was 2015, not 2014.



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