WTVY  | Dothan, AL  | Politics, News

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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