Challenge to the Decisionmaking Process - Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b) and the Constitutional Right to a Fair Trial
Peter N. Thompson
Hamline University - School of Law
January 1, 1985
Southwestern Law Journal, Vol. 38, p. 1187, 1985 (Originally appearing in Vol. 38 Southwest Law Journal 1187. Reprinted with permission from the SMU Law Review and the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law)
Courts have long guarded the secrecy of jury deliberations by a competency rule limiting juror testimony on post-trial motions for new trial. The proper role of the lay jury in resolving litigation has evoked constant controversy and concern. Some wonder if lay juries are basing decisions on error. The Court must reconcile its approach to post-trial review of error in criminal cases with the underlying policy giving rise to Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b). The conciliation must begin with an analysis of the jury trial rights as guaranteed by the Constitution and a clear view of whether the central purpose of the institution of the American jury is a search for truth or an exercise in democratic decisionmaking. This articles touches on the historical evolution of the jury, juror misconduct, Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b), and Supreme Court expansion of scope of juror testimony.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 43
Keywords: Jury, juror misconduct, Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b), juror testimony, fair trial
JEL Classification: K00, K4, K41
Date posted: April 11, 2013
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