WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court is suggesting that racial bias in the jury room may trump the centuries-old legal principle of secrecy in jury deliberations.
The justices heard an appeal Tuesday from an immigrant in Colorado who was convicted by a jury on which one man reportedly tied the defendant’s guilt to his Hispanic heritage.
The Supreme Court has resisted the call in earlier cases to examine what was said in the jury room.
But several justices appeared persuaded that allegations of racial bias justify piercing the sanctity of jury deliberations. Justice Stephen Breyer said questioning jurors in such cases may be needed to “create a jury system that is seen as fair.”
Chief Justice John Roberts wondered whether other forms of sex, religious and other discrimination also should be investigated.