Brief Fact Summary.
Defendant, who was convicted of possessing marijuana for sale, argued on appeal that the trial court erred when, in connection with defendant’s motion for a new trial, the trial court it refused to consider a juror’s affidavit alleging misconduct on the part of the bailiff.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Jurors are competent witnesses to prove objective facts, or overt conduct, to impeach a verdict.
The only improper influences that may be proved under Evidence Code section 1150 to impeach a verdict, therefore, are those open to sight, hearing, and the other senses and thus subject to corroboration.View Full Point of Law
Defendant was convicted of possessing marijuana for sale. Defendant moved for a new trial, in support of which he submitted a juror affidavit alleging misconduct on the part of the bailiff with regard to the jury deliberations. The trial court refused to consider the affidavit, on the ground that the jury could not impeach its own verdict. Defendant appealed.
Did the trial court err in refusing to consider the juror affidavit in light of its conclusion that the jury could not impeach its own verdict?
Yes. Jurors are competent witnesses to prove objective facts to impeach a verdict under California Evidence Code section 1150.
There is no substantial conflict between the policies of preventing instability of verdicts, fraud, and harassment of jurors and the granting relief from wrongful conduct by a jury; the wrong to the individual is not the “lesser evil.” Jurors are competent witnesses to prove objective facts to impeach a verdict under Section 1150 of the California Evidence Code.