Can An Investigation Into Juror Behavior After the Verdict Reverse the Verdict ?
In Devoney v. State, 717 So. 2d 501, 504 (Fla. 1998), the Court agreed with Justice O'Connor's observation in Tanner v. United States, 483 U.S. 107, 97 L. Ed. 2d 90, 107 S. Ct. 2739 (1987):
Writing for a majority, Justice O'Connor observed the reality of the jury system when she commented:
There is little doubt that postverdict investigation into juror misconduct would in some instances lead to the invalidation of verdicts reached after irresponsible or improper juror behavior.
It is not at all clear, however, that the jury system could survive such efforts to perfect it.
Allegations of juror misconduct, incompetency, or inattentiveness, raised for the first time . . . after the verdict, seriously disrupt the finality of the process.
Moreover, full and frank discussion in the jury room, jurors' willingness to return an unpopular verdict, and the community's trust in a system that relies on the decisions of laypeople would all be undermined by a barrage of postverdict scrutiny of juror misconduct. Tanner, 483 U.S. at 120-21.
This Court then concluded in Devoney:
Imperfect as it may be, in a free country such as ours, the jury system continues to be the finest method ever devised for the resolution of disputes.
To permit jury verdicts to be impugned in the manner advocated by Devoney would sow the seeds for the destruction of that system. Id. at 505.