72 Fla. L. Rev. 1353 (2020)
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Discrimination LawEvidence


During an inquiry into the validity of a verdict, Federal Rule of
Evidence 606(b) prohibits jurors from testifying about statements made
or incidents that occurred during jury deliberations, including jurors’
subjective mental processes used in reaching the verdict. This rule is often
called the “no-impeachment” rule. The no-impeachment rule promotes
the finality of verdicts, facilitates free and vibrant discussion by jurors
without fear their verdict will be questioned, and ensures that jurors are
not harassed by litigants seeking to challenge their verdict. However, in
a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Peña-Rodriguez v. Colorado, the
Court held that a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right trumps the no-impeachment rule in one specific circumstance: Post-verdict juror
testimony is permitted when a juror’s clear statement reveals that the
juror’s decision to convict was based on racial animus. This “racial
animus” exception to the no-impeachment rule is a necessary safeguard
for defendants’ Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights because of the
deep-seated history of racial discrimination within America’s criminal
justice system.

This Note argues for a framework that would also extend exceptions
to the no-impeachment rule to suspect classes that experience non-racial
biases, but only if there is substantial evidence that the suspect class
experiences widespread bias in the jury system. This Note applies this
proposed framework to anti-LGBTQ bias because there is sufficient
evidence that the LGBTQ community experiences pervasive bias within
the jury system. Creating additional exceptions to the no-impeachment
rule will not greatly undermine the finality of verdicts or open the jury
system up to far more challenges because, like in Peña-Rodriguez, the
threshold for its application will be very high.