Rule 606: Competency of Juror as Witness.

Article VI. Witnesses


(a) At the Trial.  A member of the jury may not testify as a witness before that jury in the trial of the case in which the juror is sitting. No objection need be made in order to preserve the point.

(b) Inquiry into Validity of Verdict or Indictment.  Upon an inquiry into the validity of a verdict or indictment, a juror may not testify as to any matter or statement occurring during the course of the jury's deliberations or to the effect of anything upon any juror's mind or emotions as influencing that juror to assent to or dissent from the verdict or indictment or concerning the juror's mental processes, except that a juror may testify on the question of whether extraneous prejudicial information was improperly brought to the jury's attention, whether any outside influence was improperly brought to bear upon any juror, or whether the jurors agreed in advance to be bound by a quotient or gambling verdict without further discussion; nor may a juror's affidavit or evidence of any statement by the juror concerning a matter about which the juror would be precluded from testifying be received for these purposes.

[As amended by order filed January 23, 2001, effective July 1, 2001.]

Advisory Commission Comments.

While there is no Tennessee precedent, jurors could and did testify at early common law. This proposed rule would prevent a juror from switching from jury box to witness stand during the course of a trial.

After verdict, part (b) would come into play. A juror may testify or submit an affidavit in connection with a motion for new trial, but only in the limited circumstances of:

(1) "Extraneous prejudicial information" finding its way into the jury room,

(2) Improper outside pressure on a juror, or

(3) A quotient or gambling verdict.

This rule is the same as that adopted in State v. Blackwell, 664 S.W.2d 686 (Tenn. 1984).

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