Here is a link to a Motion in Limine filed by an attorney representing one of the police officers charged in the Freddy Gray case. For those interested in learning more about the jury issues that arise in high profile cases like Freddy Gray, I suggest giving this 8-page motion a quick once over.
Among other things, the defense counsel has requested that the jurors be told in both "preliminary instructions, and during final instructions, that the juror names will never be revealed to the public, nor the media, and that they may remain entirely anonymous should they choose to do so." The motion also requests that the judge sequester all jurors. Absent sequestration, the motion requests that "jurors congregate at a third party location, and be driven to the courthouse by security officers."
I will be on WBAL this Sunday at 6:00 am to talk about the motion and other jury related issues involving the Freddy Gray Case.
Apparently, a few states offer jurors additional compensation in order to prevent jury duty from becoming a financial hardship. For example, in Colorado, jurors can claim financial hardship and seek additional compensation from the court. The Colorado law (13-71-125) on this issue reads as follows.
The compensation and reimbursement policy of this article shall be to prevent, insofar as possible, financial hardship for any juror because of the performance of juror service. Where financial hardship exists, the court shall attempt to place the juror in the same financial position as such juror would have been were it not for the performance of juror service.
This topic has garnered increased attention in light of the ongoing death penalty case of James Holmes which is expected to last for several months. To read more about hardship pay for jurors go here.
Eight months after six jurors acquitted George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the trial judge handling the case has decided to release the names of the jurors to the general public.
Yesterday, a federal judge ruled that he would use anonymous jurors in the criminal trial of former neo-Nazi activist William A. White. White is on trial in federal court for sending a threatening communication to his ex-wife in an attempt to extort money. Previously, in 2011, White was convicted of soliciting violence against a juror in Illinois. The judge stated that in his 41 years on the bench he had "never empaneled an anonymous jury." The judge went on to say that he is "reluctantly going to permit it in this case."
In the criminal trial of former neo-Nazi activist William A. White federal prosecutors are asking the judge to conceal the names of prospective jurors. Previously, in 2011, White was convicted of soliciting violence against a juror in Illinois. White is now on trial for sending a threatening communication to his ex-wife in an attempt to extort money. In arguing for the anonymous jury, prosecutors stated that White "and his associates are capable of harming jurors and are likely to interfere with the judicial process as they have in the past." White opposes the government's motion for anonymous jury.
To read more about this case go here. To read about prior posts on anonymous juries go here.
Media outlets are reporting that at least one juror from the Zimmerman trial has inked a book deal. Apparently, this juror is not so concerned about her anonymity or privacy. As some may recall, the trial judge in this case not only sequestered the jurors but also at least for the time being preserved their anonymity.
Some may question the need for anonymity when one of the jurors is looking to write a book about her experience. Of course, she is not the first to try and make jury service profitable. Other examples of jurors penning books after serving on high-profile trials can be found here and here.
The real issue with jurors becoming authors is that they might be more worried about selling their experience to others than finding the truth especially in a high profile case like this one. This is even more of a concern with anonymous jurors who have less oversight and accountability than traditional jurors.
The judge ruled today that the jurors in the George Zimmerman murder trial will not be sequestered but will be anonymous to the public at least until the end of the trial. As some may recall, Zimmerman is accused of killing Trayvon Martin. For an earlier post on this issue go here and here.