By: Kevin Zhao
Traditionally, under Rule 606(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence, jurors are barred from testifying towards matters within juror deliberations. However, many jurisdictions in the United States have adopted an exception to this rule for racial prejudice. That is, if a juror comes forward post-verdict to testify that another juror made racially charged comments within the jury room, then the verdict may be overturned. The Supreme Court will address this issue in its upcoming decision in Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado. This commentary will argue that a racial bias exception is necessary to protect defendants’ rights to a fair trial and ensure that no conviction stands on racially-based decision making.