U.S. Supreme Court awards new trial to killer of former Saint, Will Smith


NEW ORLEANS – On Monday afternoon, it was announced that Cardell Hayes, the man accused of killing a former New Orleans Saint, will be receiving a new trial.

The United States Supreme Court recognized his right to a new trial, in light of the court’s prior decision in Ramos v. Louisiana, which recognized that non-unanimous verdicts are unconstitutional.

On April 9, 2016, Will Smith was shot to death outside his car after a dispute with Hayes. The shooting happened on Magazine Street in the Lower Garden District.

Later that same year, Hayes was convicted of manslaughter for shooting Smith, and attempted murder for shooting Smith’s wife.

But the jury verdict was not unanimous, and since then, the Supreme Court has ruled that non-unanimous verdicts in felony trials violate the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution.

The legal team representing Hayes includes trial attorney Eric Santana, of Santana Blanchard, and appellate attorneys, Mark D. Plaisance and Marcus J. Plaisance of Plaisance Law, LLC. 

The following statement came in the announcement: “Mr. Hayes looks forward to a new trial on the lesser charge of manslaughter rather than the original charged crime of second-degree murder, which the jury rejected. Mr. Hayes maintains his innocence.”


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