Today marks the 3rd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Warger v. Shauers. Warger held that jurors cannot be made to testify about jury deliberations even to expose other jurors who lied during voir dire.
The case behind Warger is relative innocuous. In 2006, Gregory Warger was in a vehicle collision involving Randy Shauers in Rapid City South Dakota. As a result of the accident, Mr. Warger had to have his left leg amputated. Mr. Warger then sued Mr. Shauers for negligence in Federal District Court. However, at the end of the trial the jury found in favor of Mr. Shauers.
After trial, a juror contacted Mr. Warger’s lawyer to tell him that the jury forwoman had biased the jury. Apparently in voir dire, the woman had lied about not having anyone in her family affected by a traffic accident. It turned out that jury forwoman’s daughter had been involved in a fatal car accident which she was at fault for, and went on at length how if she had been found liable, it would have ruined her daughter’s life.
Mr. Warger then made a motion for a new trial based on the information. Mr. Warger argued that he had met the test set forth in McDonough Power Equipment, Inc v. Greenwood by showing the jury forwoman bias had denied him an impartial jury. The Federal District Court and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the juror’s testimony could not be entered into evidence according to Rule 606(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence because the forwoman’s past experiences did not constitute an “Improper outside influence”. Mr. Warger then sought a writ of certiorari in early 2014, and was granted cert in March 3rd, 2014.
The Supreme Court heard arguments on October 8th, 2014. Mr. Warger argued that his motion was improperly denied because he had shown that the jury Forman’s dishonest was an improper outside influence on the jury.
Mr. Shauers argued that the forewoman’s past experiences were not an improper outside influence, and even if she had been dishonest, past experiences are not improper outside influences that the Federal Rules of Evidence were meant to protected against.
The Supreme Court rendered its judgment on December 9th, 2014. The unanimous Court led by Justice Sonia Sotomayor agreed with Mr. Shauers interpretation of Rule 606(b). The Court held that while the juror had been dishonest, Mr. Warger had failed to show that the jurors past experiences had denied him a fair trial.
With the Court’s judgment rendered, Mr. Warger was denied any relief, and received nothing. Thankfully, while this case prevents the deliberation of jurors from being entered into evidence, with Experienced Legal Representation at your side in voir dire, you can protect your rights to a fair trial.
Written by Hunter J. White
 Warger v. Shauers, 135 S. Ct. 521 (2014)
 McDonough Power Equip. v. Greenwood, 464 U.S. 548, 104 S. Ct. 845 (1984)