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United States v. Anthony Anderson
Amicus Curiae Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Appellant.
Argument: In the decision that precipitated the “unanimous verdict” issue here, Ramos v. Louisiana, 140 S. Ct. 1390 (2020), NACDL (among others) filed an amicus brief. NACDL’s interest in this issue continues because members of our Armed Forces tried by courts-martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice [UCMJ] are not second-class citizens and do not forfeit their Fifth or Sixth Amendment rights to a unanimous verdict upon donning a military uniform. Pursuant to CAAF Rule 26(b), our amicus curiae brief “bring[s] relevant matter to the attention of the Court not already brought to its attention by the parties...” NACDL’s approach is different regarding the substantive issue, i.e., does the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a unanimous verdict in a criminal case, apply to noncapital courts-martial for serious offenses? Alternatively, does the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause require unanimity? Our amicus brief does not duplicate Appellant’s arguments. NACDL takes a different path in arriving at the same conclusion–non-unanimous verdicts in noncapital courts-martial violate the Constitution. NACDL’s position is that Congress, when enacting Article 52(a)(3), UCMJ, provided for non-unanimous verdicts–as in Ramos–by “the concurrence of at least three-fourths of the members present when the vote is taken” –which contravenes what the Constitution commands, viz., a unanimous verdict. Article 52(a)(3), UCMJ, is therefore unconstitutional on its face.
Ramos v. Louisiana
Brief of Amicus Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Petitioner.
Argument: Non-unanimous juries are fundamentally different and less deliberative than the Sixth Amendment requires. Non-unanimous juries also fundamentally skew the decision of whether to exercise the jury trial right. The pernicious racial origins of the non-unanimity rule further undermine the Sixth Amendment jury trial right.
Edwards v. Vannoy
Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner.
Argument: Like Gideon v. Wainwright (the only case the Supreme Court has recognized as falling within Teague v. Lane’s watershed rule exception), Ramos v. Louisiana is a watershed rule and therefore, under Teague v. Lane, applies retroactivity to cases on collateral federal review. Ramos, like Gideon, overturned a badly flawed, errant precedent to restore a bedrock Sixth Amendment right. Ramos, like Gideon also increases the accuracy of convictions, when accuracy is properly understood to refer to the fairness of the process and the likelihood that the defendant received procedural protections guaranteed by the Constitution, rather than the likelihood that actual guilt or innocence is determined.