State v. Scotchel

In State v. Scotchel, 168 W.Va. 545, 285 S.E.2d 384 (1981), the Court set forth the circumstances in which a jury verdict should be set aside based on allegations that certain improprieties occurred during the jury's deliberations. In Syllabus Point 1 of Scotchel this Court held that "a jury verdict may not ordinarily be impeached based on matters that occur during the jury's deliberative process which matters relate to the manner or means the jury uses to arrive at its verdict." However, the Court further held that "a jury verdict may be impeached for matters of misconduct extrinsic to the jury's deliberative process." Syllabus Point 2, in part, Scotchel. As this Court explained: In criminal trials, a defendant has a constitutional right to confront the witnesses against him. Affidavits of jurors have been used to impeach the verdict of the jury where a third party has supplied the jury with facts that are not in evidence bearing on the defendant's guilt. E.g., Parker v. Gladden, 385 U.S. 363 (1966); Turner v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 466 (1965); Annot., 58 A.L.R.2d 556 (1958); 3 ABA Standards for Criminal Justice 15-4.7(c)i (1980). (168 W.Va. at 549, n.3, 285 S.E.2d at 387, n.3.) This Court ultimately determined in Scotchel that the improprieties that occurred during the jury deliberations in that case were intrinsic to the deliberative process and, therefore, could not be used to impeach the jury's verdict.