Oregon is the only state in the country that still allows for criminal convictions in some cases even if the jury is not unanimous. Louisiana voters did away with the practice starting this year, but the court will hear from a Louisiana defendant who is serving a life term for killing a prostitute after being convicted by a 10-2 jury vote while the old rules were still in place. The Supreme Court previously decided that while federal trials require a unanimous verdict, states could set their own rules. The justices appear likely to set a uniform rule on unanimity, just as they did in a case last term when they held that the Constitution's ban on excessive fines applies to the states as well.

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