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Unanimous juries for criminal convictions? Supreme Court declines case.

The Supreme Court declines to take up a case challenging the right of states to permit non-unanimous verdicts. Critics say verdicts reached by divided juries violate the Sixth Amendment.

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Workers cover the US Supreme Court building in Washington, in this September 2012 file photo, with a protective scrim, as work continues on the facade.

Alex Brandon/AP/File

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The US Supreme Court declined on Tuesday to take up a case examining whether the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial requires that juries in criminal cases reach their verdicts unanimously.

Two states, Louisiana and Oregon, permit convictions on less-than-unanimous jury verdicts. In both states a defendant can be convicted by an 11-to-1 or 10-to-2 vote.

All other states and the federal government require that jurors reach a verdict unanimously.

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Lawyers urging the high court to take up their case alleged that the jury process in Louisiana is a vestige of a Jim Crow-era policy that sought to undermine African-American participation in the criminal-justice system.

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