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STATE OF LOUISIANA Vs. TEVIN TEVONTE JENKINS
Case Number: KA -0020-0002
Judge: CANDYCE G. PERRET
Court: STATE OF LOUISIANA
COURT OF APPEAL, THIRD CIRCUIT
Plaintiff's Attorney: Jeffrey M. Landry
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On October 31, 2017, a grand jury indicted Defendant and Tyrone Trayune
Ned for the August 9, 2016 second degree murder of Rodney Joseph Savoy, Jr., in
violation of La.R.S. 14:30.1. Defendant filed a motion to declare La.Code Crim.P.
art. 782(A) unconstitutional on August 9, 2019; the trial court found the statute
constitutional on August 15, 2019.
A jury convicted Defendant as charged by a ten-to-two verdict on August 30,
2019. Thereafter, the trial court sentenced Defendant to life imprisonment at hard
labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence on October 30,
2019. This appeal followed. 1
On appeal, Defendant alleges the following two assignments of error: (1) the
jury instruction allowing for a non-unanimous verdict and the jury’s 10-2 verdict of
guilt violated his Sixth Amendment rights, and (2) there was sufficient evidence to
establish that he acted in sudden passion or heat of blood immediately caused by
provocation sufficient to deprive an average person of his self-control and cool
reflection, such that no reasonable juror could have found beyond a reasonable doubt
that he committed second degree murder.
1Although briefing deadlines for both the Defendant and the Louisiana Attorney General
have been suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we find that the Ramos v. Louisiana,
590 U.S. ___, ___ S.Ct. ___ (2020) ruling controls the decision in this case regardless of any
arguments that might be stated in any brief Defendant or the State might file.
In accordance with La.Code Crim.P. art. 920, all appeals are reviewed for
errors patent on the face of the record. After reviewing the record, we find that there
is one error patent that is raised and discussed in Defendant’s assignment of error
number one. Specifically, Defendant contends that the version of La.Code Crim.P.
art. 782 in effect at the time of this murder was unconstitutional because it allowed
for a non-unanimous jury verdict.
On April 20, 2020, the United States Supreme Court ruled Louisiana’s
provision for a non-unanimous verdict was unconstitutional. Ramos v. Louisiana,
590 U.S. ___, ___ S.Ct. ___ (2020).
Although the concurring justices did not join
in all parts of the majority opinion, the Supreme Court unambiguously determined
that non-unanimous verdicts are not permitted by the Sixth Amendment to the
Constitution. The prohibition applies to the states through the Fourteenth
Amendment and, because Defendant’s case is pending on direct review, the Supreme
Court’s decision in Ramos applies here. See Schriro v. Summerlin, 542 U.S. 348,
351, 124 S.Ct. 2519, 2522, (2004) (observing that “[w]hen a decision of [the United
States Supreme Court] results in a ‘new rule,’ that rule applies to all criminal cases
still pending on direct review”). Accordingly, because the Ramos holding applies in
this case and invalidates the Defendant’s conviction by a non-unanimous jury verdict,
any discussion of the Defendant’s other assignment of error is rendered moot.
Outcome: For the foregoing reasons, Defendant’s conviction and sentence are vacated
and the case is remanded to the trial court for a new trial on the charge of second