Keeping jurors names from the public

July 19, 2010
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When is it appropriate to delay the release of juror’s names in a trial? That’s an issue that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals sidestepped last week on an appeal of the decision of the District judge in former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s trial to keep confidential the names of the jurors until after the trial is finished, which could take months. The jurors were selected at the beginning of June.

Several news organizations wanted the jurors’ names so they could investigate and run stories on them. The District judge feared releasing their names would undermine impartiality and discourage others from serving in the future. The District judge also worried the jurors would be bombarded by e-mails and other communication during the trial if their names were released. He had been contacted several times about the case, even by a random person from off the street.

Sequestering jurors would probably solve the problem of unwanted contact, but is it fair to sequester people for months?

The District judge decided to not to release jurors’ names without evidence or holding a hearing. To complicate matters, he promised the seated jurors their names wouldn’t be released until after the trial ended. The press argued it’s a First Amendment issue – the right to access.

Instead of ruling on the matter, the 7th Circuit ordered the District judge to hold proceedings consistent with the opinion, and to keep the names confidential until a decision has been made.

When should a judge make the decision to keep jurors’ names from the public? Should jurors involved in high-profile cases remain anonymous until the end, always, or never?

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  1. by the time anybody gets to such files they will probably have been totally vacuumed anyways. they're pros at this at universities. anything to protect their incomes. Still, a laudable attempt. Let's go for throat though: how about the idea of unionizing football college football players so they can get a fair shake for their work? then if one of the players is a pain in the neck cut them loose instead of protecting them. if that kills the big programs, great, what do they have to do with learning anyways? nada. just another way for universities to rake in the billions even as they skate from paying taxes with their bogus "nonprofit" status.

  2. Um the affidavit from the lawyer is admissible, competent evidence of reasonableness itself. And anybody who had done law work in small claims court would not have blinked at that modest fee. Where do judges come up with this stuff? Somebody is showing a lack of experience and it wasn't the lawyers

  3. My children were taken away a year ago due to drugs, and u struggled to get things on track, and now that I have been passing drug screens for almost 6 months now and not missing visits they have already filed to take my rights away. I need help.....I can't loose my babies. Plz feel free to call if u can help. Sarah at 765-865-7589

  4. Females now rule over every appellate court in Indiana, and from the federal southern district, as well as at the head of many judicial agencies. Give me a break, ladies! Can we men organize guy-only clubs to tell our sob stories about being too sexy for our shirts and not being picked for appellate court openings? Nope, that would be sexist! Ah modernity, such a ball of confusion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmRsWdK0PRI

  5. LOL thanks Jennifer, thanks to me for reading, but not reading closely enough! I thought about it after posting and realized such is just what was reported. My bad. NOW ... how about reporting who the attorneys were raking in the Purdue alum dollars?

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