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Puerto Rico high court: Not guilty verdict must be unanimous

Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court has ruled that not guilty verdicts in criminal cases must be unanimous, marking a significant change in how jury trials are conducted in the U.S. territory. For nearly seven decades, Puerto Rico’s constitution has allowed a minimum of nine jurors for such verdicts. Thursday’s decision by the island’s high court comes more than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that jury verdicts must be unanimous to convict in criminal trials. Though that decision specifically concerned unanimity in guilty verdicts, it sparked discussion in Puerto Rico about how the island’s judicial system should handle not guilty verdicts. A majority on the high court said the island’s constitution requires unanimity for both both guilty and not guilty verdicts. 

Article Topic Follows: AP National News

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