Peña-Rodriguez v. State of Colorado
What's at Stake
Whether a court may consider evidence of racially discriminatory comments during jury deliberations in deciding whether to grant a new trial.
The validity of a verdict generally cannot be questioned based on testimony by jurors about their deliberations. The purpose of the so-called no-impeachment rule is to preserve the confidentiality of the jury process. The issue in this case is whether that rule must give way to the constitutional requirement of an impartial jury when there is direct evidence of racial bias by one or more jurors. In an amicus brief filed with other civil rights groups, the ACLU argues that rooting out discrimination in the criminal justice system is more important than the no-impeachment rule.