Brief Fact Summary. Hutchinson (Defendant) was convicted of possession of marijuana for sale. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court committed prejudicial error in refusing to consider a juror affidavit detailing misconduct on the part of the court’s bailiff.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Jurors are competent witnesses to prove objective facts to impeach a verdict under Section 1150 of the Evidence Code.
To establish unlawful possession of narcotics it must be shown that the accused exercised dominion and control over the drug with the knowledge of its presence and narcotic character.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Can members of a jury be allowed to impeach their own verdict?
Held. The remarks that were made by the bailiff, combined with their tone and delivery constitute statements and conduct that are likely to have influenced the verdict improperly. As a result, the affidavit of the juror is admissible to prove the statements and conduct of the bailiff. Furthermore, the lower court’s order denying the Motion for New Trial is vacated.
Discussion. The scope of Section 1150 is quite limited. The only improper influences that may be proved under this section to impeach a verdict are those open to sight, hearing, and the other senses, and thus open to corroboration. In this case, because the bailiff’s tone and delivery can be found to adhere to these limited categories, the juror affidavit is admissi