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United States v. Shiu Lung Leung

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

August 6, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
SHIU LUNG LEUNG, AKA Steve Leung, Chao-Lung Liang, Defendant-Appellant

Argued and Submitted, San Francisco, California: February 11, 2015.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California Susan Illston, Senior District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. 3:09-cr-00110-SI-6.

SUMMARY[**]

Criminal Law

Affirming the district court's denial of a motion for new trial and request for an evidentiary hearing, the panel held that the defendant was not entitled to a new trial or evidentiary hearing based on a juror's post-verdict affidavit alleging that other jurors discussed the evidence against him and made up their minds about his guilt before the start of deliberations.

The panel declined to embrace the defendant's theory that Fed.R.Evid. 606(b), which shields against the efforts of litigants to overturn verdicts based on the real or perceived flaws of the juries that decided their cases, provides leeway for a court to delve into the internal affairs of the jury simply because the discussions took place before deliberations commenced.

Dennis P. Riordan (argued) and Donald M. Horgan, Riordan & Horgan, San Francisco, California, for Defendant-Appellant.

Adam D. Chandler (argued), James J. Fredericks, and Kristen C. Limarzi, Attorneys; Brent Snyder, Deputy Assistant Attorney General; William Baer, Assistant Attorney General; Peter K. Huston and Micah L. Wyatt, Attorneys, United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Before: Sidney R. Thomas. Chief Judge, M. Margaret McKeown, Circuit Judge and Virginia M. Kendall,[*] District Judge.

OPINION

McKEOWN, Circuit Judge:

The prohibition on admitting juror testimony to challenge the validity of a verdict is longstanding. Warger v. Shauers, 135 S.Ct. 521, 526, 190 L.Ed.2d 422 (2014). It has its roots in an eighteenth-century English case " in which Lord Mansfield held inadmissible an affidavit from two jurors claiming that the jury had decided the case through a game of chance." Id. In modern jurisprudence, this principle is found in Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b), which is a powerful shield against the efforts of litigants to overturn verdicts based on the real or perceived flaws of the juries that decided their cases. Indeed, the Supreme Court has interpreted the Rule to bar testimony regarding jurors' drug use, " insanity, inability to understand English, and hearing impairments." Id. at 530.

In keeping with these precedents, we hold that Shiu Lung Leung was not entitled to a new trial or evidentiary hearing based on a juror's affidavit alleging that other jurors discussed the evidence against him and made up their minds about his guilt before the start of deliberations. We decline to embrace Leung's theory that Rule 606(b) provides leeway for a court to delve into the internal affairs of the jury simply because the discussions took place before deliberations commenced.

Background

Shiu Lung Leung, an executive at the Taiwanese company AU Optronics Corporation, was charged in 2010 with violating the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. ยง 1, for his role in fixing the prices of Thin-Film Transistor, Liquid Crystal Display panels. Leung faced trial as one of seven individual and corporate co-defendants. The jury convicted four and acquitted two of Leung's co-defendants, but could not reach a ...


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