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Impeachment of Verdicts for Misconduct, 13 Central Law Journal 61 (1881)

Abstract

That a verdict may be impeached and set aside for misconduct of the jury, or for that of the court in its intercourse with the jury, or for the misconduct of the parties or that of their counsel, or for the misconduct of the officer in charge of the jury, is an elementary principle of law, long since recognized and established. Notwithstanding the general recognition of the principle, there seems to be some diversity of opinion as to the manner in which verdicts may be impeached for such misconduct. The rule, as it is usually laid down, is that the affidavits of jurors can not be received to impeach their verdict. But in a case in the Supreme Court of the United States, Mr. Chief Justice Taney, in speaking on this subject, said: "It would perhaps hardly be safe to lay down any general rule upon this subject. Unquestionably such evidence ought always to be received with great caution; but cases might arise in which it would be impossible to refuse 'them without violating the plainest principles of justice." And we find in several cases, that the courts, while recognizing the correctness of the general principle, have held that the affidavits of jurors may be received to impeach their verdicts, by showing misconduct of the parties, or misconduct of the officer having them in charge.

Date of Authorship for this Version

1881

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