HEPPNER – Oregon was the only state allowing 10-2 jury verdicts for serious crimes with the exception of murder when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the practice was unconstitutional. Morrow County District Attorney Justin Nelson said that the high court recently ruled that the decision was not meant to be retroactive.
Nelson hopes the state of Oregon pays attention to that ruling, for the sake of the victims.
“Now, all of a sudden, they could get a notice maybe 10 or 15 years later saying, ‘Oh, sorry about that, we’re going to have to retry that whole case,’” he said.
In addition, Nelson said the problem of holding another trial decades later is that witnesses can forget, move away, or die.
“Maybe your grandmother, who was a witness, has passed away, and so now we can’t prove the case and the person who was convicted walks free,” Nelson said. “That’s not right.”