DA Schmidt administration provides testimony on Ramos Ruling 

November 15th, 2021

Elisabeth Shepard, Communications Director

DA Schmidt administration provides testimony on Ramos Ruling 

PORTLAND, Ore. – Today, Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office (MCDA) Policy Director Aaron Knott provided testimony on proposed legislation that the United States Supreme Court’s Ramos ruling be applied retroactively.

The United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Ramos v. Louisiana held that the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that a guilty verdict for criminal trials be unanimous.  Oregon and Louisiana are the only states who permitted a non-unanimous verdict, a rule which has been criticized for silencing diverse voices on the jury.

The legislation, which has not yet been assigned a bill number, received a preliminary hearing in the Interim Senate Committee on Judiciary.

“The racially problematic history of Ramos is well established, and the inevitable tendency of a non-unanimous verdict-based system to silence dissent and shorten jury deliberation is itself justification enough to require urgent legislative action.  And while Oregon’s overlong reliance on a practice which had been abandoned by 48 other states even prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in Ramos poses a significant challenge, with the right investments, we can meet that challenge,” Knott stated. 

“We must have the resources necessary to give victims the reliable, trauma-informed response that they will require to navigate this difficult time, and I urge you to keep this dynamic in mind as you are considering this important legislation,” Knott went on. 

Sponsors of the prospective bill expect it to be under consideration in the 2022 Legislative Session.

To view the full hearing, click here.