St. Petersburg Times | U.S. District Court
While sequestered for six weeks, the 12 Pinellas County jurors and 5 alternates hearing the Casey Anthony case were monitored closely, with limited television and even more limited news exposure.
“They … were allowed to read local newspapers and their hometown paper, the St. Petersburg Times, was given to them — but only after every reference to Casey Anthony had been removed.”
Though some alternate jurors have appeared on television and in newspapers Wednesday, the 12 people who reached a “not guilty” verdict have not yet spoken publicly.
Judge Belvin Perry, who presided over the case in Orlando, released only the names of the alternate jurors. The Poynter-owned St. Petersburg Times reports it and several other media organizations will challenge that decision in court Thursday, when it reconvenes to sentence Anthony for lying to law enforcement officials.
“They cannot remain anonymous forever. There’s a public interest against closed justice,” David L. Hudson Jr., scholar at the First Amendment Center, said by phone Wednesday morning. “The media is the public surrogate and perhaps they can provide key information and serve both the First Amendment and Sixth Amendment interest in an open trial.”
Hudson noted a similar case decided last month, in which the Boston Globe requested juror names after a verdict was reached.
When consulted briefly, the jurors expressed a desire to have a short period of time to decompress and to reflect on whether they wish to say anything to the media.
The media, however, has a countervailing First Amendment interest in access to criminal proceedings, including the identities of the jurors who decided the case.
The convicted defendants have urged the court to delay disclosure of the jurors’ identities … The media requests immediate access to the information. The court concludes that it is most reasonable to give the jurors a single day to begin recovering from the stress of the trial and to think about what, if anything, they wish to say if contacted by the media.
Court watchers may learn Thursday when the Casey Anthony jurors’ identities will be revealed and then the race will be on to see who will interview them first.
> Casey Anthony juror willing to talk to media, but only if he’s paid