Pena-Rodriguez v. ColoradoAnnotate this Case
In 2007, a man made sexual advances toward two teenaged girls in a bathroom of a horse-facing facility in which petitioner Miguel Pena-Rodriguez worked. The girls identified petitioner as the assailant at a one-on-one show-up. The State charged petitioner with one count of sexual assault on a child, one count of unlawful sexual contact, and two counts of harassment. At the start of a three-day trial, the venire received a written questionnaire. None of the jurors that were impaneled answered any question pertaining to any biases, or if they were unable to be fair on their respective questionnaires. After trial, the jury ultimately found petitioner guilty on all but the attempted sexual assault charge. Two weeks later, petitioner moved the trial court for juror contact information, alleging that some members of the jury used ethnic slurs in the course of deliberations. Defense counsel obtained affidavits from some jurors suggesting that one juror exhibited racial bias against petitioner during deliberations. The issue this case presented for the Supreme Court's review centered on the secrecy of those deliberations and petitioner's constitutional right to an impartial jury. Specifically, the issue was whether CRE 606(b) applied to such affidavits, and if so, whether the Sixth Amendment nevertheless required their admission. The Supreme Court concluded that the affidavits fell within the broad sweep of CRE 606(b), and that they did not satisfy the rule's "extraneous prejudicial information" exception. The Court held that the trial court's application of CRE 606(b) did not violate petitioner's Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury.