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Got a defense attorney wanting to call jurors in a capital murder conviction to testify that the defendant did not receive a fair trial due to trial counsel ineffective assistance. He tried to do same thing in motion for new trial. I filed motion in limine and excluded that testimony under Rule 606. It's clear the jurors cannot testify about discussions inside jury room. However, I think he now wants to call them just to offer an opinion that defendant did not receive a fair trial. Can't find a case in point but this does not sound relevant to the legal issue to me. Anyone got any cases or ideas?
 
Posts: 283 | Location: Montague, Texas, USA | Registered: January 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I would think an application for relief under 11.071 is "an inquiry into the validity of a verdict", and it appears that the juror will likely be trying to state the effect of something on his or another juror's mind or emotions or mental processes. Rule 606 is broader than just jury deliberations. The record should already reflect any errors by defense counsel and whether the defendant was prejudiced is a question of law for the court, not some know-it-all juror. If trial counsel wants to give his thought processes that led to the mistakes so be it, but jurors have no special insight as to the fairness of the proceeding. Sec. 10 states the Rules of Evidence apply at the hearing, so make the most of them.
 
Posts: 2369 | Registered: February 07, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Just to support what Martin already said, a juror wouldn't be competent to give an expert opinion on whether defense counsel was ineffective. State v. Dechaine, 630 A.2d 234, 237 (Me.,1993) (juror not competet to give opinion on what would have been the effect of defendant's new evidence on jury had that new evidence been offered). I would expect a 701 argument that this a lay opinion. I don't think it is.

I think a juror could testify that defense counsel was drunk or sleeping and that's about it.
 
Posts: 527 | Location: Fort Worth, Texas, | Registered: May 23, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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