A Thursday hearing ended without media organizations learning the names of the 12 jurors who determined the fate of Casey Anthony.
The Associated Press, Tampa Tribune, WFTV-Channel 9, Orlando Sentinel and Poynter-owned St. Petersburg Times asked Judge Belvin Perry to release the names, which he has not yet done though the verdict was returned on Tuesday.
Perry said one juror had “very serious security concerns.”
“It is no big secret that some people disagree with their verdict. And some people would like to take something out on them,” Perry said. He asked, “Is the court totally powerless when it comes to folks’ safety?” …
Perry noted that jurors may choose to come forward. For example, one already gave an interview to ABC.
But he noted that most have indicated they want to remain anonymous. He asked, “Do we now ask the citizens of this county to add the burden of having 24-hour protection to those individuals” who may face threats?
In an interview Wednesday, David L. Hudson Jr., scholar at the First Amendment Center said the jurors “cannot remain anonymous forever” unless there is compelling evidence that revealing their identities endangers them.
“There’s a public interest against closed justice,” he told me by phone.
Hudson noted a similar case decided last month, in which the Boston Globe requested juror names after a verdict was reached. In that case, the judge allowed a “cooling off” period of a day.
Judge Perry has indicated he will also set a “cooling off” period of 7-10 days, but he has not said when that period would begin.