Court of Appeal cites Ramos decision and remands Wilson for new trial
Citing a recent decision by the United States Supreme Court was the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal as it remanded the case against Robert Marquez Wilson for a new trial here in Evangeline Parish.
Wilson was convicted on manslaughter on October 5, 2018, after he allegedly shot and killed a bystander, Kathy Weston. Wilson was sentenced by Judge Chuck West on January 17, 2019, and ordered to serve 25 years at hard labor.
Wilson appealed citing several assignments of error. One of the assignments was regarding hearsay grounds on the basis of the defense not being able to cross examine two of the state’s witnesses. Another assignment dealt with the non-unanimous jury verdict, which was the issue in the case before the United States Supreme Court.
The defense’s argument on appeal regarding non-unanimous verdicts was “Louisiana’s constitution and statutory provisions allowing a conviction with a verdict of less than 12 jurors violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.” The defense added, “Considering the sixth amendment right to a jury trial applies in state criminal courts, the right to a unanimous jury verdict should also apply in a state criminal court trial.”
The case, at the time of the appeal, was remanded back to the trial court for a new trial on the issue of hearsay. The state, then, filed writs with the Louisiana State Court.
The state Supreme Court remanded the case back to the Third Circuit because the appellate court did not address the issue of the non-unanimous verdict.
The appellate court again reviewed the Wilson case and found the jury verdict was 10-2. The verdict, according to the court’s decision, is not, permissible under the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution and said prohibition applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment.”
As a result, Wilson’s conviction was again reversed and sentence was vacated, The matter was remanded to the 13th Judicial District Court.