Things got ugly during jury deliberations in a 2010 sexual assault trial in Colorado.
“I think he did it because he’s Mexican, and Mexican men take whatever they want,” a juror said of the defendant.
The juror, identified in court papers as H. C., was a former law enforcement officer. After the trial was over, two other jurors submitted sworn statements describing what he had said during deliberations.
“He said that where he used to patrol, nine times out of 10 Mexican men were guilty of being aggressive toward women and young girls,” one juror recalled.
In the end, the jury deadlocked on the most serious charge, a felony, but convicted the defendant, Miguel Angel Peña Rodriguez, of three misdemeanors. He was sentenced to two years’ probation.
Next month, the Supreme Court will consider whether Mr. Peña Rodriguez can challenge his conviction based on H. C.’s statements. That will require the justices to choose between keeping jury deliberations secret and sustaining the Sixth Amendment’s promise of an impartial jury.