- Legal News Updates
- Law Center
- Legal Business
- Court News Center
- Law Firm News
- Legal Interviews
- Headline News
- Political and Legal
- Practice Focuses
- Legal Spotlight
- Events & Seminars
- Legal Marketing
- Court Watch
- Immigration Law
- Media Center
- Justice Stories
- Court: Man can't be retried for murder after mistrial ruling
- Michigan Democrats back Nessel for state attorney general
- Question of sales tax on online purchases goes to high court
- Supreme Court again refuses to hear Blagojevich appeal
- Court hears case alleging unconstitutional 6th District gerrymander
- Maryland redistricting case comes before Supreme Court
- Courts weighing numerous challenges to political boundaries
- Arkansas wants court to dissolve stay for death row prisoner
- TransCanada doesn't have to pay landowner attorneys
- Martin Shkreli cries in court, is sentenced to 7 years for securities fraud
The justices will hear an appeal from a Hispanic man in Colorado who says he did not have a fair trial because a juror made offensive comments about Mexicans.
The remarks came to light when two other jurors told the defendant's lawyer about them. Courts rarely allow jurors to reveal what went on during their deliberations.
But defendant Miguel Angel Pena Rodriguez argues that the comments were so bad they deprived him of his constitutional right to trial by an impartial jury.
The high court will hear the case in the fall. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the National Congress of American Indians are among the groups backing Pena Rodriguez. They provided the justices with examples of other trials in which jurors uttered slurs or made derogatory remarks about Native American, African-American and Hispanic defendants.
Colorado tried to dissuade the court from taking up the case by arguing there was overwhelming evidence against Pena Rodriguez and that no juror suggested that the offensive comments affected or persuaded anyone else.
After a jury convicted Pena Rodriguez of unlawful sexual contact and harassment involving teenage sisters at a Denver-area horse race track, two jurors provided his lawyer with sworn statements claiming that a third juror made derogatory remarks about Mexican men before voting guilty.
"I think he did it because he's Mexican and Mexican men take whatever they want," is one of several racially tinged statements attributed to the juror identified in court records by the initials H.C. In another comment, the juror is said to have cast doubt on an alibi provided by a Hispanic witness for Pena Rodriguez because the witness was "an illegal." The witness testified that he was in the country legally.
But three separate courts in Colorado said those statements could not be used to upend Pena Rodriguez's conviction because of a long-standing rule that prohibits jurors from testifying about what happens during deliberations. The rule, found in both federal and state law, is intended to promote the finality of verdicts and to shield jurors from outside influences.
Legal News Media
Legal News Organization press is the top headline legal news provider for lawyers and legalprofessionals. Read law articles and breaking news from law firm's across the United States to get the latest updates. The content contained on the web site has been prepared by Legal News Media as a service to the internet
community and is not intended to constitute legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case or circumstance.