The Opinion(s) handed down on the 19th day of November, 2019, are as follows:
BY WEIMER, J.:
2019-KA-00568 c/w 2019-KA-00569 State of louisiana vs. valentino roman hodge (parish of Sabine)
This case is before the court on direct appeal from a district court ruling declaring unconstitutional the jury verdict regime found in La. Const. art. I, § 17 and La. C.Cr.P. art. 782, which allow for verdicts on a vote of ten of twelve jurors for felonies committed before January 1, 2019. The district court committed the following two interrelated errors: (i) creating, on that court’s own initiative (sua sponte), a constitutional challenge to statutory law and to provisions of the Louisiana Constitution and (ii) striking down the jury verdict regime as unconstitutional on the basis of an earlier, nonbinding district court holding. Based on these errors, this court vacates the district court’s ruling and remands for further proceedings.
VACATED AND REMANDED.
Chief Judge Susan M. Chehardy of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Circuit, appointed as Justice pro tempore, sitting for the vacancy in the First District.
Retired Judge James Boddie appointed Justice ad hoc, sitting for Clark, J.
Johnson, C.J., dissents and assigns reasons.