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225 Pa. Code Rule 606. Juror’s Competency as a Witness.

Rule 606. Juror’s Competency as a Witness.

 (a)  At the Trial. A juror may not testify as a witness before the other jurors at the trial. If a juror is called to testify, the court must give a party an opportunity to object outside the jury’s presence.

 (b)  During an Inquiry into the Validity of a Verdict

   (1)  Prohibited Testimony or Other Evidence. During an inquiry into the validity of a verdict, a juror may not testify about any statement made or incident that occurred during the jury’s deliberations; the effect of anything on that juror’s or another juror’s vote; or any juror’s mental processes concerning the verdict. The court may not receive a juror’s affidavit or evidence of a juror’s statement on these matters.

   (2)  Exceptions. A juror may testify about whether:

       (A)   prejudicial information not of record and beyond common knowledge and experience was improperly brought to the jury’s attention; or

       (B)   an outside influence was improperly brought to bear on any juror.


   Pa.R.E. 606(a) is identical to F.R.E. 606(a). Note that this paragraph bars a juror from testifying ‘‘before the other jurors at the trial.’’ That phrase indicates that a juror may testify outside the presence of the rest of the jury on matters occurring during the course of the trial. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Santiago, 456 Pa. 265, 318 A.2d 737 (1974) (jurors permitted to testify at hearing in chambers during trial on question of whether they received improper prejudicial information).

   Pa.R.E. 606(b) differs from F.R.E. 606(b). First, the words, ‘‘extraneous prejudicial information’’ in F.R.E. 606(b)(2)(A) have been replaced by the phrase ‘‘prejudicial information not of record and beyond common knowledge and experience.’’ This makes clear that the exception is directed at evidence brought before the jury which was not presented during the trial, and which was not tested by the processes of the adversary system and subjected to judicial screening for a determination of admissibility. The qualification of ‘‘common knowledge and experience’’ is a recognition that all jurors bring with them some common facts of life.

   Second, the word ‘‘indictment’’ has been omitted because challenges to indicting grand juries and jurors are the subject of Pa.R.Crim.P. 556.4.

   Third, Pa.R.E. 606(b)(2) does not contain the third exception to juror incompetency that appears in F.R.E. 606(b)(2)(C)—permitting juror testimony about whether there was a mistake in entering the verdict onto the verdict form. Pennsylvania law deals with possible mistakes in the verdict form by permitting the polling of the jury prior to the recording of the verdict. If there is no concurrence, the jury is directed to retire for further deliberations. See Pa.R.Crim.P. 648(G); City of Pittsburgh v. Dinardo, 410 Pa. 376, 189 A.2d 886 (1963); Barefoot v. Penn Central Transportation Co., 226 Pa. Super. 558, 323 A.2d 271 (1974).

   Pa.R.E. 606(b) does not purport to set forth the substantive grounds for setting aside verdicts because of an irregularity.

   Official Note

   Adopted May 8, 1998, effective October 1, 1998; Comment revised September 17, 2007, October 17, 2007; rescinded and replaced January 17, 2013, effective March 18, 2013.

   Committee Explanatory Reports:

   Final Report explaining the September 17, 2007 revision of the Comment published with the Court’s Order at 37 Pa.B. 5247 (September 29, 2007).

   Final Report explaining the January 17, 2013 rescission and replacement published with the Court’s Order at 43 Pa.B. 651 (February 2, 2013).


   The provisions of this Rule 606 amended September 17, 2007, effective October 17, 2007, 37 Pa.B. 5247; rescinded and replaced January 17, 2013, effective in sixty days, 43 Pa.B. 620. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (330287) to (330288).

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