Split Jury

Tacuma Jackson was 26 when he was sentenced to 33 years in prison by a split jury. In any of the other 48 United States, besides Liousiana, a single juror’s vote of not guilty would have been enough to prevent conviction. However, in Oregon, this system remained for over eight decades until 2020 when the U.S Supreme Court banned non-unanimous jury verdicts. For Tacuma, and law professor Aliza Kaplan, the ruling represents an opportunity to demand justice for the roughly 400 people who were wrongfully convicted in Oregon. Split Jury details the life of Tacuma, a year after being released, as he navigates fragile relationships, rebuilds the life he left behind, and waits for the Oregon Supreme Court to decide whether he and hundreds of others will ever see justice, or be forced to carry the burden of their felony convictions for the rest of their lives.

  • Buddy David Terry
    Food, Connections Across Borders
  • Linus Unah
  • Buddy David Terry
    Food, Connections Across Borders
  • Linus Unah
  • Tacuma Jackson
    Key Cast
  • Aliza Kaplan
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    24 minutes 45 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 12, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    3,100 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - University of California, Berkeley
Distribution Information
  • L.A Times
    Country: United States
    Rights: Internet
Director Biography - Buddy David Terry, Linus Unah

Buddy Terry is an American filmmaker and cinematographer, born in Portland and raised in rural Saint Helens Oregon, who draws inspiration from growing up in a small-town. As a producer, Buddy’s creative work aims to challenge ideological preconceptions, and advance craft convention. As a trained anthropologist Buddy holds the philosophy that one’s understanding of the world is directly influenced by their environment, and can be subsequently narrowed as a result. His work ranges from commercial multimedia production to long form ethnography and documentary films, most recently with Reveal, the Center for Investigative Reporting. Buddy is currently a second year pursuing a masters of documentary film at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Portfolio: @buddyterry | www.buddyterry.com

Masters of Documentary Film - U.C Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

Linus Unah is a Nigerian producer, journalist and emerging documentary filmmaker. He previously worked as an independent journalist for six years and produced multimedia stories on wildlife conservation, development, global health, and conflict for Mongabay, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, National Public Radio, Devex, The Christian Science Monitor, and several others. His predilection for documentary film grew out of his role at San Francisco-based WildAid, an international environmental charity, where he assisted in producing environmental TV series and shortform videos on the illegal wildlife trade and local conservation projects. In May 2023, he completed his first short documentary, “Split Jury,” for his master’s thesis in the documentary program at the University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Spanish philosopher George Santayana underscored the invaluable role history plays in our lives and societies when he said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Growing up in countries that have both been shaped by historical events, our fascination with history as a subject and our love for human-driven storytelling found a perfect match in Split Jury.

We care deeply about history and think that events like the non-unanimous jury rule in Oregon represents an important opportunity to understand past events, ask deeper questions about its origins and how events like this – though nearly a century old law -in Oregon – intersect with the present and shape the world around us.

There has never been a shortage of flaws in the U.S criminal justice system, and while some states’ reform efforts may appear more forward thinking than others, laws like Oregon’s non-unanimous jury system serve as a reminder that the past is not so distant, and decisions made then still impact people’s lives today.

Our vision for the film was to chronicle how this law came to be, and while the information was clear, the bigger challenge then became bringing forward the human element and emotions that often get lost in conversations about a system well known for being flawed and dehumanizing.

Through scenic imagery of a cold dreary Oregon winter, combined with Tacuma and Aliza’s passionate struggle to help repair the harm that has been done by this law, we hope that Split Jury leaves the audience informed about the lingering effects of this dated legislation, and moved by the courageous journey of a few devout advocates.