Amendment Ten limits jury trial waivers - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Amendment Ten limits jury trial waivers

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Suspects accused of a non-capital crime have the right to waive a trial by jury and have a judge decide their case.  But when and how many times should they be able to change their mind? These are some of the issues to consider when you vote on Constitutional Amendment 10.

It would require the waiver at least 45 days before trial-- and once waived it could not be revoked. Calcasieu District Attorney John DeRosier supports the amendment saying it would prevent defendants from going back and forth. "If passed a defendant will not be able to say I want a jury trial then when he finds out who his judge is say well I want to waive a jury. And then go back and decide later if it gets transferred to a different judge, well I want a jury again because I don't have the judge I wanted now."

But Defense Attorney Glen Vamvoras says it's okay for a defendant to decide based on which judge he gets. "If you think the judge is going to be fair to you and give you a fair trial then you have every right to elect that judge to try your case. And if for some reason a new judge takes over, then you may not feel that way and you're entitled to a jury trial at that point."

DeRosier says defendants going back and forth bogs down system. "If we allow defendants to waive a jury and then revoke that and reinstate their request for a jury trial, and then waive it at the last minute we can end up wasting a whole week of jury trial time."

Yet Vamvoras says judges have discretion to prevent abuse of the system by defendants. "The Code of Criminal Procedure does prevent abuse of the right to waive trial by jury and then change your mind and change your mind back."

Some see it as an issue of victims rights versus the unrestrained rights of the accused.

The election is Tuesday, November 2.

For more information on the ten proposed amendments to the Louisiana Constitutional see the analysis provided by the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana. 

Copyright 2010 KPLC. All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Leesville art exhibit honors former state park Hodges Gardens

    Leesville art exhibit honors former state park Hodges Gardens

    Saturday, June 23 2018 12:04 AM EDT2018-06-23 04:04:17 GMT
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

    Last October Louisiana lost a hidden gem---Hodges Gardens.  The state couldn't fund the park anymore, and with no one willing to step in and keep it running, it finally closed down.  But a local art exhibit in Leesville wants to preserve the garden's memory and inspire someone to consider opening it again.  On the walls of Gallery One Ellleven you'll find the beauty of Hodges Gardens.  Last summer Jerry Keeton decided he wanted to create water color painti...

    More >>

    Last October Louisiana lost a hidden gem---Hodges Gardens.  The state couldn't fund the park anymore, and with no one willing to step in and keep it running, it finally closed down.  But a local art exhibit in Leesville wants to preserve the garden's memory and inspire someone to consider opening it again.  On the walls of Gallery One Ellleven you'll find the beauty of Hodges Gardens.  Last summer Jerry Keeton decided he wanted to create water color painti...

    More >>
  • Shrimp and Jazz Fest is Saturday June 23rd

    Shrimp and Jazz Fest is Saturday June 23rd

    Shrimp and Jazz Fest is Saturday June 23rd

    Friday, June 22 2018 10:45 PM EDT2018-06-23 02:45:05 GMT
    image courtesy of thechangetrend.comimage courtesy of thechangetrend.com
    image courtesy of thechangetrend.comimage courtesy of thechangetrend.com
    Jazz music has been a staple of Louisiana's culture for many years, and you can help celebrate it this weekend. The Gulf Coast Shrimp and Jazz Festival runs Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lake Charles Civic Center on Saturday, June 23rd. Jazz in the Arts is hosting a free jazz workshop before the festival starting at 9, and Jazz After Dark will follow the festival at 7 p.m.  Musician Mickey Smith Junior, with be performing at the event. Mickey Smith Jr. said in a statem...More >>
    Jazz music has been a staple of Louisiana's culture for many years, and you can help celebrate it this weekend. The Gulf Coast Shrimp and Jazz Festival runs Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lake Charles Civic Center on Saturday, June 23rd. Jazz in the Arts is hosting a free jazz workshop before the festival starting at 9, and Jazz After Dark will follow the festival at 7 p.m.  Musician Mickey Smith Junior, with be performing at the event. Mickey Smith Jr. said in a statem...More >>
  • Compromise reached in special session

    Compromise reached in special session

    Friday, June 22 2018 9:28 PM EDT2018-06-23 01:28:47 GMT
    Rep. Paula Davis, a first-term legislator, presented the compromise bill that resolved a battle in the House over renewing part of a cent of state sales tax. (Source: Sarah Gamard/LSU Manship School News Service)Rep. Paula Davis, a first-term legislator, presented the compromise bill that resolved a battle in the House over renewing part of a cent of state sales tax. (Source: Sarah Gamard/LSU Manship School News Service)

    By Paul Braun, Drew White, and Tryfon Boukouvidis LSU Manship School News Service BATON ROUGE--The House erupted into cheers Friday after voting 74-24 to renew 0.45 percent of an expiring penny of sales tax until 2025, breaking a huge logjam and reaching a compromise with Gov. John Bel Edwards after nearly five months of intense fighting. The bill would generate $466 million in additional revenue next year, falling $102 million short of the $648 million that Edwards had originally ...

    More >>

    By Paul Braun, Drew White, and Tryfon Boukouvidis LSU Manship School News Service BATON ROUGE--The House erupted into cheers Friday after voting 74-24 to renew 0.45 percent of an expiring penny of sales tax until 2025, breaking a huge logjam and reaching a compromise with Gov. John Bel Edwards after nearly five months of intense fighting. The bill would generate $466 million in additional revenue next year, falling $102 million short of the $648 million that Edwards had originally ...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly