Supreme Court Commentaries
Sixth Amendment, Rules of Evidence, Impartial Jury
Constitutional Law | Supreme Court of the United States
Traditionally, under Rule 606(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence, jurors are barred from testifying towards matters within juror deliberations. However, many jurisdictions in the United States have adopted an exception to this rule for racial prejudice. That is, if a juror comes forward post-verdict to testify that another juror made racially charged comments within the jury room, then the verdict may be overturned. The Supreme Court will address this issue in its upcoming decision in Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado. This commentary will argue that a racial bias exception is necessary to protect defendants' rights to a fair trial and ensure that no conviction stands on racially-based decision making.
Kevin Zhao, The Choice Between Right and Easy: Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado and the Necessity of a Racial Bias Exception to Rule 606(b), 12 Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy Sidebar 33-46 (2016)