January 28th, 2021
Louisiana Supreme Court Opinions
Lousiana v. Cohen
Opinion Date: January 27, 2021
Judge: Per Curiam
Areas of Law: Constitutional Law, Criminal Law
Sixteen-year old Donasty Cohen was charged with second-degree murder for the death of her 27-day-old infant son. After trial, a jury found her guilty of manslaughter. The district court sentenced her to serve 17 years imprisonment at hard labor without parole eligibility. The court of appeal affirmed after deleting the restriction on eligibility for parole. On appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court, defendant argued only that the district court erred in denying her challenge for cause of one prospective juror. In the course of reviewing the record, it became apparent that the verdict in this case was non-unanimous. The sealed jury polling slips contained in the record showed defendant was found guilty of manslaughter by vote of 11-1. The State conceded the verdict was not unanimous. The Court held defendant was entitled to a new trial. The appellate court's judgment was reversed, the conviction and sentence vacated, and the matter remanded fur further proceedings.
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