McDonald v. Pless
238 U.S. 264 (1915)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

McDonald v. Pless, 238 U.S. 264 (1915)

McDonald v. Pless

No. 283

Argued May 13, 1915

Decided June 14, 1915

238 U.S. 264

Syllabus

The Conformity Act -- Rev.Stat., § 914 -- does not apply to the power of the court to inquire into the conduct of jurors. The courts of each jurisdiction, state and federal, must be in a position to adopt and enforce their own self-preserving rules.

While Rev.Stat., § 914, does not apply in this case, this Court recognizes the same policy that has been declared by that court and by the courts in England and in most of the states of the Union, that the testimony of a juror may not be received to prove the misconduct of himself or his colleagues in reaching a verdict.

The rule, endorsed by this Court in this case, that a juror may not impeach his own verdict is based upon controlling considerations of public policy which in such cases chooses the lesser of two evils.

While jurors should not reach a verdict by lot, or, as in this case, by averaging the amounts suggested by each, the verdict may not be set aside on the testimony of a juror as to his misconduct or that of his colleagues.

206 F. 263 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the validity of a verdict and judgment of the circuit court of the United States in an action for services, are stated in the opinion.

Page 238 U. S. 265

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