Fla. Judge Pushes for Juror Protection Law

The trial may be over, but Judge Belvin Perry isn't done talking. He's anything but comfortable about telling the world who found Casey Anthony not guilty of murder.

Under Florida law, he'll have to do it, but he wants Tallahassee to help protect the privacy of future juries. A smart move, if you ask Rebecca and Omar Tovar. They don't buy the argument that withholding names could make it more difficult to uncover a biased juror and a tainted verdict.

"I think it's a good idea to ban the release. The jury selection should catch if there's any biases at that time, so that's really the bottom line to it."

Right now at the capitol, the verdict is out on whether to throw a veil over a critical part of the judicial process, but if recent history is any guide, lawmakers may well be in favor.

Only this year, they passed a ban on releasing surveillance video depicting assault or murder. It was a controversial carve-out to one of the nation's most sweeping open government laws.

Representative Alan Williams says it may happen again with juries.

"We're not talking about the traffic cases or any of those type of things," Rep. Williams said. "We're looking at some of these highly-charged, very highly-contested cases that come up that get a lot of emotion built up by our citizens."

Emotion that could easily turn to violence, but even that may not trump the public's right to know.

A formal bill to ban the release of juror names has yet to be drafted. Legislators say the concept should be thoroughly vetted before the legislative session starts in January.

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  • by josie on Aug 1, 2011 at 05:36 PM
    if was on a jury for a federal criminal case now i would not vote one way or another if ppl will come and make threats against me and my familia it is the responsibility of the courts not to release my name and to protect me and others on a jury this is a justice system you cant prove it by me several of them didnt want to speak to anyone isnt that their rite
  • by Albert Location: Chipley on Jul 30, 2011 at 10:00 AM
    Yes, I do agree with that. Theres no reason for the public knowing who they are and how stupidly they let a vile, wicked human being off the hook for murder. But I do suppose given the limited information that they had to work with they had no other choice but to find her not guilty.You can't convict a person on the way they acted.It has to be hard cold evidence, if you have a smoking gun, you've got to put it in her hand. If she didn't do it, she knows who did do it. I guess time will tell.
  • by Jim Location: former Fl Resident on Jul 30, 2011 at 09:50 AM
    The names of Grand Jury memebers are not released, why should trial jurors have to be?
  • by Tom Location: Enterprise on Jul 30, 2011 at 05:28 AM
    People, what this judge is doing may seem admirable, however the law will take personal accountability out of the equation, sort of like all judges and clerks have judicial immunity which of course is wrong. Think about it for a moment, in accordance with the simple clerk, you get a speeding ticket, you pay the speeding ticket, oops you get pulled over again for a minor moving infraction. The NCIC data base reflects you failed to pay an outstanding ticket, you show the cop your receipt for paying, but he still hauls you off to jail. The clerk failed to enter that you payed the ticket, guess what? They suffer nothing for their incompetence, you spend the night in jail, go to court, lose money for not being able to work that day. So if you want a more predudice and unfair balance of your judicial system, then you will allow the judge to convince your legislature to pass such a law. Believe me, judges, clerks, and juror's should be held accountable for their actions.
  • by rodsmith on Jul 29, 2011 at 10:35 PM
    i've been hearing about the public's "so-called" "right to know" for YEARS. I am still waiting for even ONE lawyer of crooked politican to point out that reference ANYWHERE in either the declaration of independance OR the U.S. CONSTITUION! it will NEVER happen since it DOESN'T EXIST!
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