In U.S. v. Fuentes, Hector and Guillermo Fuentes (2 brothers), convicted of harboring undocumented aliens for profit, conspiring to harbor undocumented aliens for profit, and aiding and abetting document fraud, were granted a new trial because a juror in describing the defendants used the phrase they are all guilty wetbacks anyway. The juror apparently made the comment to a third party at a bar while the trial was ongoing. The court, however, only learned of the remark after a guilty verdict had been returned. In deciding to grant the defendants a new trial, the judge determined, that this juror voiced a prejudgment of guilt in conjunction with an ethnic slur against these defendants and others ("they are all guilty wetbacks").
Courts generally will not overturn a verdict based on the mental processes of a juror unless it involves some type of outside influence on the juror. In fact, most courts will not even allow such evidence to be admitted. This juror anti-impeachment rule, reflected in FRE 606(B), is in place to: (1) provide verdict finality; (2) encourage jurors to freely express themselves during deliberations; and (3) reduce the amount of post-trial hounding jurors receive from attorneys.
Here, however, the trial judge found that admitting the juror comment would not violate FRE 606(B) because it was made prior to deliberations. Furthermore, the court pointed out that in U.S. v. Villar the First Circuit Court of Appeals carved out an exception to FRE 606(B). In Villar, the court found that a trial judge may at her discretion inquire into the jury deliberation process if failing to take such action would potentially compromise the defendant's 6th Amendment and Due Process rights.